The Week Ahead: Still a Mixed Bag

 | May 18, 2014 | 8:30 PM EDT  | Comments
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Stock quotes in this article:

jcp

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jwn

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csco

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urbn

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tjx

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wsm

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gps

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rost

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tfm

Last week continued the mixed bag that we have seen of late. In earnings, we saw a number of better-than-expected reports, such as the numbers we received from J.C. Penney (JCP) and Nordstrom (JWN). Some others weren't as bad as expected -- that's you, Cisco (CSCO). On the other hand, April retail-sales figures disappointed despite the expected Easter bump. Food and energy prices climbed in April, according to both the producer and consumer price indices.

At the same time, while the April industrial-production reading missed expectations, several regional Federal Reserve indices surprised on the upside. In addition to all that, we saw a somewhat murky housing-starts report: The number jumped 13.2% in April, led by multi-family, but building permits hit their highest level in nearly six years.

All this has left the major market indices in line with where they have been for the last several weeks.

As we attempt to get a bead on the direction of the market this week, the most noticeable difference this week is that -- after last week's rush of data -- it's set to be a little slower on the economic front. Midweek sees the Federal Open Market Committee minutes from the last meeting, and once again Wall Street detectives will be mincing through their words for a better read on what may come from the central bank. For my money, I continue to think the Fed will remain on its tapering path in the coming months -- that is, I believe it will continue to pare back on quantitative easing.

Thursday is the biggest economic-data day this week, courtesy of Markit Economics and all of the flash purchasing managers index data it will be publishing. Is China continuing to soften? Was last week's surprise dip in eurozone activity the start of something more? Are we continuing to see improving orders and backlogs for the U.S. economy? All will be hinted at, if not revealed, Thursday morning.

Two more pieces of housing data are also due to hit late in the week -- existing-home sales and new-home sales for April. The line I'll be watching will be the inventory number buried in the new-home-sales report. It's been at low levels for the last few months, but a sharp jump could add to investor concerns over the homebuilders.

This aside -- retail, retail, retail: It's what is on tap for corporate earnings this week. Yes, some others are also due to report, such as Salesforce.com (CRM), NetApp (NTAP) and Hewlett-Packard (HPQ).

But, by and large, taking center stage will be retailers such as Urban Outfitters (URBN), TJX (TJX), Williams-Sonoma (WSM), Gap (GPS) and Ross Stores (ROST). Separately, Home Depot's (HD) performance and insight, meanwhile, will shed some light on housing activity. Namely, we'll have fresh clues on how much activity is related to repair and remodeling, and how much is in new construction.

Among grocery stores, Whole Foods (WFM) has reported slower-than-expected traffic figures in recent weeks, while Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) surprised on the upside. Who had it right? We'll see when The Fresh Market (TFM) reports its results late this week.

One other thing to note: As corporate earnings start to wind down, the number of investor conferences will start to crank up between now the end of the quarter. Be sure to check here to see which companies are holding investor meetings and which firms are holding conferences.

Here's a more detailed view for the week ahead:

__________________

Economic Calendar

Monday, May 19

  • No major economic indicators

­____

Tuesday, May 20

  • No major economic indicators

____

Wednesday, May 21

  • Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Mortgage Index (Weekly)
  • Crude Oil Inventories (Weekly)
  • Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Minutes (April 30 Meeting)

____

Thursday, May 22

  • HSBC Flash China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI)             
  • Markit Flash France Composite PMI          
  • Markit Flash Germany Composite PMI     
  • Markit Flash Eurozone Composite PMI     
  • Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI
  • Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims (Weekly)
  • Existing Home Sales (April)
  • Leading Indicators (April)
  • Natural Gas Inventories (Weekly)

____

Friday, May 23

  • New Home Sales (April)

________________

Earnings Calendar

Monday, May 19

  • Constellation Energy Partners (CEP)
  • Campbell Soup (CPB)
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN)
  • The Valspar Corp. (VAL)

____

Tuesday, May 20

  • Analog Devices (ADI)
  • Salesforce.com (CRM)
  • Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS)
  • The Home Depot (HD)
  • hhgregg, Inc. (HGG)
  • Intuit Inc. (INTU)
  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (RRGB)
  • Staples, Inc. (SPLS)
  • The TJX Companies (TJX)

____

Wednesday, May 21

  • American Eagle Outfitters (AEO)
  • Booz Allen Hamilton Holding (BAH)
  • Dycom Industries (DY)
  • 8x8 Inc. (EGHT)
  • HEICO Corp. (HEI)
  • Hormel Foods (HRL)
  • Lowe's Companies (LOW)
  • Network Appliance (NTAP)
  • PetSmart, Inc. (PETM)
  • SINA Corp. (SINA)
  • Target Corp. (TGT)
  • Tiffany & Co. (TIF)
  • ValueVision Media (VVTV)
  • Williams-Sonoma (WSM)

____

Thursday, May 22

  • Aeropostale Inc. (ARO)
  • Aruba Networks (ARUN)
  • Best Buy Co. (BBY)
  • The Buckle (BKE)
  • The Bon-Ton Stores (BONT)
  • Brady Corp. (BRC)
  • Dollar Tree Stores (DLTR)
  • ITT Educational Services (ESI)
  • GameStop Corp. (GME)
  • Gap Inc. (GPS)
  • Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)
  • Movado Group (MOV)
  • Marvell Technology (MRVL)
  • New York & Co. (NWY)
  • Patterson Companies (PDCO)
  • Perry Ellis International (PERY)
  • Ross Stores (ROST)
  • Shoe Carnival (SCVL)
  • Stein Mart (SMRT)
  • TD Bank Financial (TD)
  • The Fresh Market (TFM)
  • TiVo Inc. (TIVO)
  • Zumiez Inc. (ZUMZ)

____

Friday, May 23

  • DryShips Inc. (DRYS)
  • Foot Locker (FL)
  • Hibbet Sports (HIBB)

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