Markets keep inching toward 2011 highs, as the drum beat of jobs data builds. The IPO surge continues, bankers meet with AG's... and just who's living in Gaddafi's house? Here's what we're watching:
1. IPO-mania: The busy chorus of public offerings sees private equity firm Apollo Global Management and Chinese Internet heavyweight Qihoo 360 Technology. Apollo priced at the top of its range at $19 a share, implying a valuation around $7 billion. But the biggest buzz surrounded Qihoo, which priced at $14,50, well above its already raised range. Plenty more to come, with GNC Holdings expected to price after the market close Thursday. And, oh, by the way, AIG could bring its Re-IPO to market in May.
2. Countdown to Jobs Friday: The market climbed higher yet again Tuesday, the Dow finishing up 0.66 percent and the S&P up 0.70 percent. The focus now turns to the jobs landscape, with the 7:30 a.m. Challenger Job Cuts data and the 8:15 a.m. ET March ADP Employment report setting the tone for trading Wednesday. Consensus forecast for ADP is a +205,000 number that will give us something of a barometer before Friday's essential Labor Department jobs report.
3. The Great Market Melt-Up: It's been quite a quarter: Egypt, Libya, Japan. But, following the pullback driven by compounding global events, major indices have gotten back near the highest levels of 2011. Energy and industrials have led the way … and "led the way" doesn't tell the full story. Incredibly, 60 percent of the S&P 500’s gains this quarter have come from a mere two sectors. In fact, the S&P 500 Energy sector is up 16 percent quarter-to-date – more than double the gains of the second-best sector in the index (Industrials up 7 percent). Heading into Wednesday's session, the Dow is just 112 points off a multi-year high.
4. Foreclosure Face-Off: Officials from five major banks -- Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase,Wells Fargo, Citi and Ally Financial -- will meet for the first time with state Attorneys General and three U.S. agencies to discuss efforts to get banks to cut the amounts owed by some borrowers facing foreclosure. This will be the first time all five banks and the Attorneys General have sat down together to discuss this matter, though further details of the meeting are super-secretive. We wouldn't call them the five families, but the meeting could settle all family business, as it were.
5. Chez Gaddafi: A remarkable subtext of the wave of revolution has been the string of revelations about the trail of money surrounding the likes of ousted Egyptian Leader Hosni Mubarak and embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.... and one more story we can't forget: the FDA chemist charged Tuesday with insider trading. There are serious lessons and punchlines galore, but our focus is simple. If you're gonna commit a crime, at least try to be subtle about it. 27 times, really? On your work computer?