Business | Week Ahead: Hedge Fund Trial, Stocks 2 Years Later and State Unemployment

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Without a lot of economic news this week, investors will be paying close attention to oil and gasoline prices, trying to determine just how much higher prices could slow down economic growth in the U.S.  This week marks the two-year anniversary (no cake expected) of the low point of stocks during the financial crisis.  And while people may be celebrating the Dow Jones up more than 80 percent from the low, it's how people made money that will be on display this week as the trial against hedge fund owner Raj Rajaratnum begins.

  • On Monday, a check in on gasoline prices with the federal government's Energy Information Administration. Last week, gasoline prices rose 19 cents to $3.38 per gallon, the second largest weekly increase since the Energy Department started collecting this data.  This price set a record higher for February. Updated weekly gasoline prices released around 4 p.m.
  • On WNYC’s Financial 411, Business Editor Charlie Herman will discuss the week ahead.  And the Wall Street Journal’s Kelly Evans, author of "Ahead of the Tape" will discuss the stock market nearly two years after it hit bottom during the financial crisis.
  • On Tuesday, Galleon hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnum goes on trial in a New York City federal courthouse on charges of insider trading that reaped more than $45 million in profits. Rajaratnum is out on bail and reports are that he plans to testify in his defense. Several others defendants charged in growing investigation have already pleaded guilty.  The trial is expected to feature wiretaps, informants and the even possibility of Goldman Sach’s CEO testifying.
  • WNYC’s Financial 411 will review the case on Tuesday.
  • Small businesses sound off on how they are doing in today’s economy in the monthly survey by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
  • At New York Public Radio’s Greene Space, the Center for Urban Future hosts an event focusing on small businesses.  CUF Director Jonathan Bowles moderates the panel "Restarting the Economy:  Unlocking the Growth Potential of Small Businesses" that includes Kathy Wylde (Partnership for the City of New York), Bruce Katz (Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program) Mary Kay Leonard (Initiative for a Competitive Inner City) Stanley S. Litow, IBM's Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and Foundation), Robert Walsh (New York City Department of Small Business Services).
  • Irving Picard, the Trustee for the liquidation of the Madoff estate, gives a media briefing updating his efforts at 3 p.m.
  • On Wednesday, it will be the two-year anniversary of stock markets hitting their lows after the financial crisis. The Dow Jones sunk to 6,547 and the Standard and Poor's 500-stock index closed at 677.  As of Friday, March 4, the Dow was up 86 percent to 12,170. And the S&P was nearly double at 1,321.
  • Millions are still out of work as a result of the financial crisis.  We’ll find out how many in New York and New Jersey as the labor departments in those states are expected to release their unemployment reports for January on Wednesday.  Barbara Byrne Denham, chief economist at Eastern Consolidated will talk to Amy Eddings about the numbers.
  • On Thursday, the weekly unemployment claims will be released at 8:30 a.m.  Economists are expecting claims to increase to 382,000 after falling to 368,000 last week.
  • And the New York City Council Finance Committee hearing on mayoral and council budgets.
  • The Financial 411 will check in on the latest report from the Federal Trade Commission about identify theft.
  • On Friday, William Dudley, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York travels to Queens to discuss the regional economy and meet with local business leaders.
  • And the government will release retail sales results for February.  They are expected to jump to 1.0 percent from 0.3 percent in January after solid employment figures as well strong auto sales last month.  But economists do worry about what impact rising gasoline prices had on consumer spending.  Are they cutting back elsewhere?