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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Apple Will Change The World! Oh, and there's some reports due out as well.

First off, Apple Computers (www.apple.com) started promising last night that "Tomorrow is just another day. That you'll never forget." The smart people at the WSJ and Reuters are expecting an announcement that the Beatles discography will be available on iTunes - this is apparently big news (if true) because there has never been a legal way to get electronic copies of any song by the Beatles.

I can't say I'm all that impressed myself, but I've never been a huge fan of the Beatles. And, since AAPL is down $2 or so in premarket trading, I don't think the Street is all that impressed either.

But away with humdrum corporate shilling! We have metrics to review!

First out of the gate is the Producer Price Index (aka PPI), which is a measure of how much the costs to produce goods has changed. If you think of it as manufacturing inflation, you won't be far off the mark. Two different PPI measures really get looked at: overall PPI and core PPI (which looks at the change in costs while excluding the ever-volatile and obviously unimportant food and energy production costs; how much could they really matter, after all).

September saw a month-over-month PPI change of 0.4%, with "core" PPI increasing 0.1%. For October, the analysts are anticipating a 0.8% increase in PPI, with another lone 0.1% increase in the "core" PPI. Obviously, they are expecting food production costs, energy production costs, or both to spike.

At 9 AM we get Industrial Production. This is a measure of, well, how much our industries produce as an increase or decrease from the previous month. It also looks at something called the capacity utilization rate, which measures how much of the possible productivity of our industries is actually being used. September saw a 0.2% decrease in month-over-month production, and a capacity utilization rate of 74.7%. For October, the Street is looking for a 0.3% increase in production and a utilization rate of 74.9%.

And then, at 10 AM, we get Apple's official word on what their world-changing announcement is. Remember, you will never forget this day.

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