Wall Street Eases Into Short Christmas Week


It’s a short Christmas week for investors with a handful of notable companies, including investment bank Jefferies Inc. (NYSE: JEF), scheduled to report quarterly earnings.

The markets are closed on Friday for Christmas Eve.

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A meeting of Genzyme Corp. (NASDAQ: GENZ) investors is on tap for Monday to discuss the future of the company's multiple sclerosis drug alemtuzumab.

Several government data points are expected next week including durable-goods orders, new-home sales and another revision to U.S. gross domestic product coming during the week.

Jefferies is the first in its sector to report results from the fall, with its fiscal year ending a month before the investment-banking juggernauts begin reporting in January. Results won't include December, which is likely to help its income statement look better. Jefferies lately has seen its results impacted by a slowdown in trading because of concerns over the state of the economy. That comes as fourth-quarter estimates for Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) have been cut by various analysts in recent weeks.

Genzyme has an investor meeting slated for Monday to review long-term sales projections for controversial multiple sclerosis drug alemtuzumab. The potential of the drug is a key part of the company's claim that an $18.5 billion takeover offer from Sanofi-Aventis SA (NYSE: SNY) is too low. The drug is still in the testing phase, but Genzyme expects sales to hit $3.5 billion in 2017--much higher than Sanofi's estimate.

A Briefing.com poll shows analysts expect November durable goods orders to decline 0.8% from year-earlier levels when the report comes out Thursday. The reading measures the dollar volume of orders, shipments and unfilled orders of durable goods. The figure is considered a top indicator of manufacturing activity.

Meanwhile, the third estimate on third-quarter gross domestic product on Wednesday is expected to be revised upward to 2.6% from 2.5%.

New-home sales for November are expected to show the seasonally adjusted annual rate climbing to 305,000 from October's 283,000 pace. Sales have been in a slump for years, and they've especially struggled of late, absent government incentives to spur deals.

Walgreen Co. (NYSE: WAG) and Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE), both slated to report quarterly results Tuesday, are expected to post broad growth from last year, along with software maker Adobe Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ADBE) on Monday. But ConAgra Foods Inc. (NYSE: CAG), which has struggled because of discounting and rising costs, is expected to release weaker year-over-year results on Tuesday.

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