NEW YORK (
) -- Well, Ben Bernanke
. That's a relief!
The Federal Reserve chairman struck a dour tone in his comments at the International Monetary Conference in Atlanta, and stocks subsequently
, illustrating that Wall Street isn't on board with Bernanke's mushy brand of optimism.
The chairman just didn't inspire much confidence as the host of qualifiers littering the speech were enough to raise questions about how much Bernanke himself actually believes what he's saying.
In the first paragraph alone, he says the growth has been "somewhat slower than expected" so far in 2011; that a number of indicators "suggest" a slowdown in the labor market; that growth "seems likely to pick up somewhat" in the second half as the impact of the disaster in Japan lessens and gas prices pull back; and that the economic recovery "appears to be continuing at a moderate pace." Not exactly inspiring stuff from the guy who's supposed to have his finger on the pulse.
The dip in stocks at the end of the day -- perhaps because no hints of "QE3" were forthcoming -- made it five negative sessions in a row for the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
, and the blue-chip index is now in an 80-point hole for the week, setting the stage for a sixth consecutive weekly decline.
There's more Fed news on the way Wednesday when the Beige Book is released at 2:00 p.m. ET. The report, released eight times a year, provides so-called
about economic conditions across the country. This time around it's just likely to be fodder for more hand-wringing on the strength of the recovery, not compelling enough to change market perceptions.
OPEC's meeting should garner more attention, however, as the prospect of an increase in output targets has emerged of late, weighing on
The market also gets a fresh glimpse of conditions in the moribund housing market as the Mortgage Bankers Association releases its weekly survey of application activity at 7:00 a.m. ET.
On the corporate front,
is slated to release its mid-quarter update on Tuesday afternoon. Based on a regular session close at $33.27, the stock is up 2.5% so far in 2011, and although it's appreciated 40% in the past year, the 52-week high of $36.71 dates back to early March.
ThinkEquity initiated coverage of TI shares on Monday with a buy rating and a 12-month price target of $40 but the firm acknowledged the stock is facing some challenges.
"In our opinion, near-term headwinds relating to disruptions from the Japan earthquake, weakness at
in wireless, and a slowing in globalindustrial/automotive/consumer demand is likely reflected in the stock trading at 12x our CY12
calendar 2012 EPS," ThinkEquity said, adding that it believes the company's pending acquisition of
should be a positive.
In its preview of the update, BMO Capital said it expects TI to maintain an outlook for earnings of 57 cents a share on revenue of $3.55 billion for its fiscal second quarter ending this month. The firm has a neutral rating on the stock with a $32 price target, and notes there could be "some downward bias" to revenue expectations because of Nokia's travails.
Before the opening bell,
reports its fiscal second-quarter results, and the average estimate of analysts polled by
is calling for a loss of 11 cents a share in the April-ended period on revenue of $428.2 million.
Shares of the Linthicum, Md.-based optical networking equipment maker closed Tuesday at $24.21, up 14% so far in 2011. By and large, Wall Street is bullish with 18 of the 26 analysts covering the stock at strong buy (8) or buy (10), and the 12-month median price target sitting at $32, implying potential upside of more than 30%.
The stock tends to move pretty good after Ciena reports, mainly because the actual results usually stray so far from consensus, and the company's outlook could impact the rest of the sector. Ciena has beaten the consensus view in three of the past four quarters and the standard deviation of the actual results from the estimate is a whopping 38% over that span.
Other companies due to report include
featured a decline by
after the home builder posted a loss in its latest quarter.
And finally, while the banks were mostly lower again on Tuesday,
CEO Jamie Dimon apparently spoke up for the sector on Tuesday,
. That may say more about the state of the financials than the woeful performance of the stocks ever could.
Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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