The Week Ahead: Into the Belly of the Beast

 | Jan 21, 2013 | 8:00 PM EST  | Comments
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Earnings season did officially kick off when Alcoa (AA) reported its fourth quarter -- however, investors will be heading into the belly of the earnings beast during this shortened trading week. Because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, more than 490 companies are scheduled to share their quarterly results over the span of four trading days. That means sifting through all sorts of data and matching up forecasts and profit drivers. It also means trying to tune in to as many conference calls as possible of the 260 that are set to take place. 

Still, the lack of domestic economic data should make the earnings gauntlet somewhat more durable. Yes, we'll be getting more on the housing market this week (see below), as well as the regular weekly data streams -- initial and continuing jobless claims, as well as the Mortgage Index from the Mortgage Bankers Association. But the more interesting economic data will come Thursday, when Markit Economics and HSBC are due to release their latest flash PMIs readings for China, the eurozone and the U.S. 

The next day, we'll get the German Ifo business climate survey, as well as preliminary U.K. gross domestic product readings for the fourth quarter from the Bank of England. Given Germany's vapid GDP growth during 2012, these metrics will be watched closely as observers attempt to gauge whether those regions are falling back into a recession. 

Shuttling back across the pond here, several clusters of U.S. companies are set to share their results. For example, in near rapid-fire succession, we will be hearing from several rail firms -- CSX (CSX), Kansas City Southern (KSU) and Norfolk Southern (NSC). These should give some indication as to the health of the domestic economy. As we layer in commentary from DuPont (DD), Jacobs Engineering (JEC) and WW Grainger (GWW), as well as a few others, we'll see an even fuller picture of the state of the U.S. economy. 

Last Friday, General Electric (GE) described the domestic economy as uncertain, and that came on top of the weak Empire Manufacturing and Philadelphia Federal Reserve readings for January. As a result, investors will be parsing these earnings results as they seek pockets of strength and identify weak areas to be avoided. GE's performance benefitted from the emerging markets, and confirmation should come when Starbucks (SBUX), McDonald's (MCD) and others report their results this week. 

Also on Friday, the University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell from 72.9 this past December to 71.3 in the preliminary reading for the January report. That marks the lowest confidence reading since December of 2011. We already know that 2012 holiday sales were weaker than first thought in November -- and, in the last few weeks, we've seen gas prices start to rebound as prices climb for corn, wheat and other key inputs.

That means I will be listening to what Proctor & Gamble (PG) and Kimberly Clark (KMB) have to say about promotional activity and the overall health of the U.S. consumer this week. It also means that I'll be watching the tweets, Columnist Conversation and write-ups from Mr. Consumer himself -- Brian Sozzi

So we're in for all that -- and, of course, Apple (AAPL) is scheduled to report its results after the market close Wednesday. While I and other investors will be collating data from the vast majority of companies reporting, I would argue that Apple's report will be the single most watched release this week, given all the negative chatter over iPhone 5 production levels, iPad demand and more. To get up to speed the Apple situation, I'd suggest reading up on what The Street's own Rocco Pendola has been saying about all of this and what it could mean for Apple and its shares.

That's a quick take on what you should expect for the next week. Following, as always, is an extensive list of the most noteworthy earnings releases scheduled through Friday, as well as what economic indicators we'll be receiving.

____­_________

Economic Data

Tuesday, Jan. 22

  • Existing Home Sales (December)

____­_

Wednesday, Jan. 23

  • MBA Mortgage Index (Weekly)
  • FHFA Housing Price Index (November)

____­_

Thursday, Jan. 24

  • Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims (Weekly)
  • Leading Indicators (December)

____­_

Friday, January 25

  • New Home Sales (December)

____­_____________

Corporate Earnings

Tuesday, Jan. 22

  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
  • Cree (CREE)
  • CSX
  • DuPont
  • Ethan Allan (ETH)
  • Freeport McMoRan (FCX)
  • Google (GOOG)
  • II-VI (IIVI)
  • Kansas City Southern
  • Norfolk Southern
  • PetMed Express (PETS)
  • RF Micro Devices (RFMD)
  • TD Ameritrade (AMTD)
  • Texas Instruments (TXN)
  • Verizon (VZ)

____­_

Wednesday, Jan. 23

  • Abbott Laboratories (ABT)
  • Apple
  • Coach (COH)
  • F5 Networks (FFIV)
  • General Dynamics (GD)
  • Jacobs Engineering
  • McDonald's
  • Motorola Solutions (MSI)
  • Netflix (NFLX)
  • Symantec (SYMC)
  • Textron (TXT)
  • Unilever (ULVR)
  • United Rentals (URI)

­­­­____­_

Thursday, Jan. 24

  • 3M (MMM)
  • Airgas (ARG)
  • Amgen (AMGN)
  • AT&T (T)
  • Briggs & Stratton (BGG)
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY)
  • Cirrus Logic (CRUS)
  • Dover (DOV)
  • Flextronics (FLEX)
  • JB Hunt Transportation (JBHT)
  • Kennametal (KMT)
  • KLA-Tencor (KLAC)
  • Lockheed Martin (LMT)
  • McCormick (MKC)
  • MICROS Systems (MCRS)
  • Stanley Black & Decker (SWK)
  • Starbucks
  • Timken (TKR)
  • Verisign (BRSN)
  • WW Grainger  

____­_

Friday, Jan. 25

  • Halliburton (HAL)
  • Honeywell (HON)
  • Kimberly-Clark  
  • Oshkosh (OSK)
  • Procter & Gamble  
  • Weyerhaeuser (WY)

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