15 Mar 2002 ‘Beware the Ides of March’
Posted at 15:57h in The Friday BriefGood Friday morning to you. If you get carried away by foreboding terms, today is rich with them. The all-familiar warning to Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s play ‘beware the Ides’ has traversed the ages with a sense of foreboding. But the day itself was no more foreboding than any other day in Caesar or in Shakespeare’s time. The term ‘Ides’ comes from the earliest Roman calendar, according to Borgna Brunner of Infoplease.com. The Roman calendar organized its months around three days, each of which served as a reference point for counting the other days. Kalends was the first day of the month, Nones, the fifth or the seventh day, depending on the month, and Ides was the 15th day in March, May, July, and October and the 13th in the other months. Another phrase of forbiddance heard every so often is ‘Triple Witching Friday’. The term refers to the final hour of trading before equity options, index options, and index futures contracts expire. Because of contract schedules, a triple witching hour occurs four times a year, each time marking heavier than usual trading and greater volatility. Now that hocus-pocus is out of the way, let’s deal with some real information. The week’s numbers were more mixed than last week, but on balance, a continued recovery remains likely. Retail sales were considerably weaker than expected, but the data are preliminary. Given the seeming disparity with the other evidence, such as high unit vehicle sales and favorable chain store data, it is reasonable to expect that these numbers will be revised higher in months to come.