WEEKAHEAD-View from editors in the Americas
NEW YORK, March 18 (Reuters) - Following is the view from editors in the Americas on the top stories for the week ahead:
Watch Reuters Insider's Week Ahead:
*Investor to watch for further currency intervention
*Obama makes swing through Latin America
*U.S. budget negotiations to continue
*Reuters Mining and Steel Summit draws CEOs
The G7's multi-pronged intervention will be watched for further action. Officials are hoping dollar/yen can push through medium-term moving averages around 82.35 and 82.60 that could lead it to at least 83 to reverse flows among model accounts and other investors and therefore support dollar buying. Will Treasuries continue to garner support as the Japanese keep buying dollars or will the fears of inflation take over again? Stocks seem to have stabilized somewhat, but the two-day calm takes place in a maelstrom of uncertainty that could hit the market again; support rests around 1,290 on the S&P.
OBAMA VISITS LATIN AMERICA
President Barack Obama travels to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador in a bid to boost trade ties with Latin America. The White House is selling the trip as a way to create more U.S. jobs and improve relations with Brazil, an emerging markets powerhouse, at a time when China's influence is growing across much of Latin America. Brazil's new president, Dilma Rousseff, also wants closer ties with the United States, in part as a counterbalance to China, but there are still serious trade and energy disputes between Brazil and the United States. Obama will look to reassert U.S. influence in Latin America, while offering a more equal partnership, in a speech in Chile.
U.S. BUDGET BATTLE
Both chambers of Congress are out next week but senior lawmakers and the White House will be negotiating behind closed doors on a spending bill to fund government through Sept 30, one of the trickiest issues in the whole budget debate. Republicans want cuts of more than $60 billion, while Democrats are offering $10 billion. We will look at possible areas of compromise plus "red lines" for Democrats like an attempt by Republicans to dry up funding for President Barack Obama's healthcare reform. The negotiations are also a test of strength for Tea Party fiscal conservatives, who are pressuring House Speaker John Boehner to stand fast on steep public spending cuts.
BATTERED U.S. HOUSING SECTOR
Data next week will underscore the persistent weakness in the U.S. housing market, weighed down by an excess of supply as properties fall into foreclosure. The National Association of Realtors is expected to report on Monday that sales of previously owned homes declined 4.5 percent to an annual pace of 5.13 million units in February. In January, pending home sales -- which lead existing home sales by a month or two -- had dropped 2.8 percent. On Wednesday, a Commerce Department report is expected to show that sales of new single-family homes, a smaller segment of the overall market, edged up in February. Despite the expected gain, the level of sales is seen holding near historic lows.
FED SPEAKERS STEP OUT
Federal Reserve officials, silent so far on the economic impact of Japan's crisis, will likely face questions on how hard the U.S. and global economies might be hit. After its meeting on March 15, the Fed offered a relatively upbeat view of U.S. growth tempered by anxiety about rising prices. Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks on Wednesday, but his remarks will focus on community banking. Dallas Fed president and hawk Richard Fisher speaks about the economic outlook on Tuesday, as does Cleveland Fed leader Sandra Pianalto. Fed Governor Elizabeth Duke speaks on Thursday on how the 2007-2009 economic crisis affected wealth. Philadelphia's Charles Plosser, a hawk, Minneapolis Fed head Kocherlakota and Atlanta Fed president Lockhart all speak on Friday.
REUTERS MINING AND STEEL SUMMIT
After a sizzling rally that has taken metals prices to a series of historical peaks, the Reuters Mining and Steel Summit aims to answer the question "What next?" for investors already wary about the future. Top guests include Cameco (CCO.TO) CEO Gerald Grandey, whose company's shares have plunged since the Japan nuclear crisis. Other top guests at the summit include Barrick Gold (ABX.TO) CEO Aaron Regent and Molycorp (MCP.N) CEO Mark Smith. With base metal and precious metal prices near record levels, the summit will focus on outlook and how that's affected by the Japan quake, M&A, rising cost trends and other issues.
RIM/ORACLE RESULTS; CTIA
Both Research In Motion RIM.TO and Oracle ORCL.O will report quarterly results on Thursday, giving investors a sense of the strength of tech demand. While most analysts expect another solid quarter for the BlackBerry maker, most eyes are on a RIM upcoming product -- the PlayBook tablet - and whether the disruptions in the global supply chain due to the Japan quake will affect launch or sales. Japan will also be a hot topic at the annual CTIA U.S. wireless show in Orlando, Florida, which kicks off on Tuesday. Other topics will range from the race to offer high-quality, high-speed wireless services to the heated battle among carriers for the hottest consumer devices.
Political issues will dominate the Canadian news agenda next week, with the government's 2011 budget due for release around 4 p.m. EDT/2000 GMT on Tuesday, parliamentary debates on the budget during the week and two likely confidence votes on the government in Parliament on Friday. If Canada's three opposition parties vote against the government in one of those two votes, the minority Conservative government falls and there will be a new election, probably in early May.
CANADIAN ECONOMY AND MARKETS
The highlight for Canadian markets next week will be the budget on Tuesday, which may show Ottawa is cutting its deficit ahead of schedule. But the entire exercise could be rendered moot if opposition parties combine to topple the minority Conservative government and trigger an election. Investors are taking a surprisingly sanguine view of that prospect, noting that the Tories and opposition Liberals both have strong deficit fighting credentials. With this in mind, Japan's nuclear crisis and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa could still set the tone for stock, bond and currency markets.
Haiti has a presidential election run-off on Sunday, but it is already being overshadowed by the return from exile of fiery former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. He is a popular but divisive figure, and the United States fears his presence in Haiti could destabilize politics in the coming days and weeks, just as the new president will be elected and will need to lead troubled efforts to rebuild the country after last year's earthquake. The election is between popular musician Michel Martelly and opposition matriarch Mirlande Manigat. Both are seen as center-rightists, and the main differences are ones of personality: Martelly is a brash musician with little political experience while Manigat is a soft-spoken, experienced former first lady.
BARRY BONDS PERJURY TRIAL
U.S. baseball's home run king, Barry Bonds, faces off against former teammates and an ex-girlfriend expected to testify about his sexual performance in a trial next week over whether he lied about taking steroids. A high point - or maybe a low point - is expected to come from a sparring match between Kimberly Bell, Bonds' Playboy magazine-posing mistress, and defense lawyer Cristina Arguedas. Prosecutors want Bell to discuss the size of Bonds' testicles and his temper, which they say point to use of performance-enhancing drugs. Court filings suggest the defense will attempt to use Bell's "rich sexual history" to provide an alternate explanation for Bonds' outbursts. TAKE A LOOK-Five world markets themes next week [MKT/THEMES] Weekahead Europe [WKAHEAD/EM] Weekahead Asia [WKAHEAD/A] Economic events [M/DIARY] Company news [GLO/EQUITY] For all diaries [DIA]