This week holiday shoppers have turned into post-holiday exchangers. While Main Street shops for sweaters in the proper size, Wall Street has a few items to cross off of its “to do” list before New Year’s eve, too.
Let’s go over some of the items that will help shape the week that lies ahead.
1. Watch out below, Uncle Sam: It’s the final trading week for what has been a very volatile year. The exchanges appear to be headed toward modest losses for 2011, but odds are that there are more than a few real stinkers in your portfolio.
Tax-loss selling, anyone?
If you’re not familiar with the practice, it’s a way for investors to offset realized capital gains by unloading investments that they will be selling at a loss. If you have enough turkeys in your portfolio to offset your gains, you’re unfortunately fortunate. You can even go a bit over on the losses, though only up to a maximum of $3,000 net loss that can be deducted from ordinary income. The balance just carries over to the following year.
It’s important to know about tax-loss selling for two important reasons. The first, of course, is that it’s one way to effectively manage your tax bill come April. However, even if you have no intention of participating, recognize that some of your biggest losers in 2011 may continue to slide until the tax-loss selling by others subsides.
2. The yolk’s on you: With so many companies and traders away on holiday this week, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to find that it will be eerily quiet on the earnings stage.
Cal-Maine (CALM) is one of the few companies reporting earnings. The country’s largest shell egg producer is expected to bounce back after a sloppy quarter last time out. Analysts are expecting net income of $0.89 a share in Tuesday’s report, 41% ahead of the $0.63 a share that Cal-Maine posted during the same quarter last year.
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