Week in Preview: Here Comes 2010's Final Economic Data Reports

U.S. economy
U.S. economy

Even as the year winds to a close this week, a handful of economic releases are on the schedule. Starting on Monday, the Chicago Fed releases its Midwest Manufacturing Index for November.

Tuesday brings the final consumer confidence index of the year, as well as the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index for October, the Richmond Fed's Business Surveys and a look at chain-store sales for the week that led up to Christmas.

Last week's initial jobless claims come out on Thursday. And then Friday brings the New York NAPM Index and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index. Note that on Friday, even though it's New Year's Eve the stock market is open, but bond markets are closed.

Cal-Maine Q2 Earnings

About the only report on the U.S. earnings front comes from Cal-Maine Foods (CALM). During its fiscal second quarter, the Jackson, Miss.-based egg producer appointed a new president and CEO, and it also announced a voluntary egg recall. Analysts forecast that earnings for that quarter will come in at 72 cents per share, a 6.9% increase from the same period of last year. Cal-Maine also is expected to post revenue of $231.2 million for the three months that ended in November, which is a marginal increase from the same period a year earlier.

Looking ahead to the third quarter, analysts expect both sequential and year-over-year growth in revenue, but another annual decline in earnings. However, Cal-Maine's earnings results have been better than expected in the past three quarters, beating consensus estimates by as much as 23 cents per share.

Cal-Maine's trailing price-earnings ratio is 10.7 and its dividend yield is 2.9%, but short interest is a hefty 33.3% of the float. While the Motley Fool considers Cal-Maine a bargain for its lack of debt and its profitability, the First Call consensus recommendation shifted from buying the stock to holding it after the recall.

But the share price has been marching higher since hitting a 52-week low of $26.23 in October, rising well above the 200-day moving average for the first time since last summer. Cal-Maine closed last week at $33.82.

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