The Week Ahead: Buckle Up

 | Apr 13, 2014 | 7:00 PM EDT  | Comments
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Last week came the kick-off to March quarter earnings, a busy spate of initial public offerings and a relatively quiet front when it came to economic data. We'll see a pick-up in velocity this week on both the economic data and earnings front -- and, to top it off, it will be in a shortened week thanks to the Good Friday holiday. That's right: Later this week, we'll see the stock exchanges make one of their rare closures. For you, me and other Real Money subscribers, it means compressing five days into four. With that in mind, let's buckle up and get going.

On the economic docket, the three "big" reports to watch will be those for retail sales, housing starts and industrial production, all for March. Given the favorable March data we've received for U.S. manufacturing thus far, the greater emphasis will be on the retail-sales and housing figures.

For both of those reports, the key question will be whether we actually saw a pick-up in activity as the winter weather subsided. While I'm more bullish on a boost in housing, I'm a little less enthusiastic about a big bump in retail sales because of the much later Easter holiday and related spring-break vacations. As I explained last week, the shift of those two events helps year-over-year comparisons for the June quarter, but it also means tougher retail comparisons in the March quarter.

We won't hear much from retailers on the earnings front this week, but we will see a general surge in the number of companies reporting. On Tuesday Alcoa (AA) delivered solid numbers, but we also caught a warning from Imperva (IMPV) that put more than some pressure on cyber-security stocks. As I shared last week, a better ratio of positive to negative earnings guidance is crucial, in my view, to seeing the overall stock market push higher.

Do I think we'll get it? I don't think it'll be across the board -- but, given the improving economic data, particularly in manufacturing, there are bound to be pockets of strength. Company commentary will be key, not only as it regards their businesses, but for those they touch as well. For example, during its earnings call Alcoa discussed strong demand for its products from the heavy-truck industry, which means favorable things for such names as Paccar (PCAR).

Connecting dots like those is what will be important this go-round of earnings season, and that means keeping your ears open even wider than usual. We'll get the usual noise, but my brethren I and at Real Money will be trying to piece together clear signals that we'll share with you. That means deciphering commentary from the likes of General Electric (GE), Intel (INTC), IBM (IBM), DuPont (DD), Chipotle (CMG), PepsiCo (PEP), Yahoo! (YHOO), Google (GOOG) and many more over the coming four trading days.

Is General Electric seeing the pick-up in its industrial businesses? What is it seeing in Asia? Is growth there bottoming out? Does Chipotle see margins getting hit by the rise in beef and pork prices? Are businesses continuing to spend on Big Data, per IBM? How badly does Intel see personal-computer demand falling in 2014 after that dismal first-quarter performance?

It's the answers to questions like these that will help formulate where we should be putting our capital to work.

It may be a short week, with a lot of chocolate bunnies toward the end, but between now and then there will be much ground to cover.

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Economic Calendar

Monday, April 14

  • Retail Sales (March)
  • Business Inventories (February)

____

Tuesday, April 15

  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) (March)
  • Empire Manufacturing (April)
  • Net Long-Term Treasury International Capital (TIC) Flows (Febuary)
  • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (April)

____

Wednesday, April 16

  • Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Mortgage Index (Weekly)
  • Housing Starts (March)
  • Building Permits (March)
  • Industrial Production (March)
  • Capacity Utilization (March)
  • Crude Inventories (Weekly)
  • Federal Reserve Beige Book (April)

____

Thursday, April 17

  • Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims (Weekly)
  • Philadelphia Fed Index (April)
  • Natural Gas Inventories (Weekly)

____

Friday, April 18

  • U.S. Stock Market Closed -- Good Friday

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Earnings Calendar

Monday, April 14

  • Citigroup (C)
  • M&T Bank Corp. (MTB)

____

Tuesday, April 15

  • Comerica (CMA)
  • Comverse (CNSI)
  • Intel Corp. (INTC)
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
  • The Coca-Cola Company (KO)
  • The Pep Boys (PBY)
  • Sensient Technologies (SXT)
  • Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO)

____

Wednesday, April 16

  • Abbot Labs (ABT)
  • Adtran Inc. (ADTN)
  • American Express (AXP)
  • Bank of America (BAC)
  • Capital One Financial (COF)
  • CSX Corp. (CSX)
  • Google Inc. (GOOG)
  • W.W. Grainger (GWW)
  • IBM Corp. (IBM)
  • Kinder Morgan (KI)
  • Kansas City Southern (KSU)
  • PNC Financial Services (PNC)
  • SanDisk Corp. (SNDK)
  • U.S. Bancorp (USB)

____

Thursday, April 17

  • Alliance Data Systems (ADS)
  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
  • AutoNation (AN)
  • Athenahealth, Inc. (ATHN)
  • BB&T Corp. (BBT
  • Baker Hughes Inc. (BHI)
  • BlackRock Inc. (BLK)
  • Badger Meter (BMI)
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG)
  • Rockwell Collins (COL)
  • Cypress Semiconductor (CY)
  • DuPont (DD)
  • Danaher Corp. (DHR)
  • Dover Corp. (DOV)
  • General Electric (GE)
  • Goldman Sachs (GS)
  • Honeywell International (HON)
  • Independent Bank (INDB)
  • KeyCorp (KEY)
  • Mattel Inc. (MAT)
  • Morgan Stanley (MS)
  • PepsiCo, Inc. (PEP)
  • PPG Industries (PPG)
  • The Sherwin Williams Company (SHW)
  • Schlumberger Ltd. (SLB)
  • Snap-On Inc. (SNA)
  • UnitedHealth Group (UNH)
  • Union Pacific (UNP)
  • United Rentals (URI)

____

Friday, April 18

  • U.S. Stock Market Closed -- Good Friday

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