NEW YORK - Wall Street heads into another turbulent week today, with Congress still hammering out a bailout for automakers and investors having to digest more data expected to show the economic malaise deepening.
Investors received no respite to worries about the economy over the weekend, with President-elect Barack Obama declaring on Sunday that the situation is destined to get worse before it gets better. Major U.S. stock indexes fell last week after a series of economic reports left little indication that the recession is easing.
Chief among investors’ economic worries will be the fate of Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC. The three automakers are seeking $15 billion in short-term aid from Washington to stave off bankruptcies that would lead to a flood of job losses.
But the negative news facing Wall Street might not actually send stocks plunging this week. There’s a growing sense among many investors that disappointing corporate reports and economic data might lead to more government actions.
Thomas Lee, equities analyst at JPMorgan, said Wall Street has already factored in much of the negative news about the faltering economy. On Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 259 points despite a Labor Department report that showed the nation lost more than half a million jobs last month.
“Everything now is more or less confirming what we already know,” Lee said.
The Labor Department will issue its weekly report on unemployment on Thursday, with first-time claims likely to be above 500,000 for a fourth straight week. The Commerce Department will follow on Friday with a retail sales report that is expected to show that sales fell in November for a fifth straight month.