The Week Ahead: Clarity Awaits

 | Oct 14, 2012 | 9:30 PM EDT
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Last week proved to be a challenging one for the stock market. All of the major indices were in the red -- the S&P 500 fell 2.2% for the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.1%. Even though last week kicked off third-quarter earnings season with a trickle, economic data took the back seat to reports from Alcoa (AA), Yum! Brands (YUM), Costco (COST) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM). While all of those companies beat quarterly expectations, some of the internals here -- in addition to revised outlooks -- were what raised eyebrows. 

Earnings -- or, rather, earnings growth -- remains the center of attention, as does the outlook in China. Company signals were somewhat mixed on that country. Yum! Brands continued to benefit from its strong foothold in the region, while Alcoa cut its aluminum-demand expectations for the rest of 2012, largely due to China's economic slowdown. Helen of Troy (HELE), a maker of personal car products, not only missed third-quarter expectations but cited a difficult retail sales environment and lowered its 2012 outlook for the second time. 

As far as the major indices are conerned, the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fared the worst, falling just shy of 3% over the last five trading days. Chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) warned that its third-quarter revenue likely fell 10% sequentially, owing to weak global demand and a growing preference for tablets over personal computers.

The Week Ahead

AMD is slated to report this week, along with both Intel (INTC) and Microsoft (MSFT). Numbers from these three PC-heavy companies should offer greater insight into the issues plaguing AMD and the PC industry generally, not to mention a glimpse as to when they expect to see it turn the corner. Also scheduled to issue their numbers this week are ASML Holdings (ASML) and Lam Research (LRCX). This should shed some light on what the weakening outlook for PCs may have on spending expectations in the semiconductor capital equipment sector. 

While last week was a relatively quiet one, this coming five days will see a significant pick-up in news flow. Not only are there more than 430 companies due to report quarterly results, but we'll be seeing a virtual smorgasbord of economic data, spanning retails sales, industrials data, housing and inflation indicators. Further, out of those hundreds of reporting companies a number of bellwethers will be sharing their quarterly results and potentially adjusting their forecasts. 

Several food companies, including Domino's Pizza (DPZ), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Pepsico (PEP) and Del Frisco's (DFRG), are among those on tap this week. Their results and commentary will be watched to assess the impact of rising input prices on their business, as well as on consumer traffic. Aside from the quarterly metrics, investors should be listening to see if these companies will institute a new round of price increases to offset higher costs and traffic pressures. After Alcoa cut its aluminum forecast due to weaker-than-expected China demand, investors will be eyeing comments this week from General Electric (GE) and Honeywell (HON) in order to better assess the situation.

Here's a more granular look at what investors should be watching and listening to over the next five trading days.

Economic Events This Week

  • Retail Sales (September) -- Monday, Oct. 15
  • Empire Manufacturing Index (October) -- Monday, Oct. 15
  • Business Inventories (August) -- Monday, Oct. 15
  • Consumer Price Index (September) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization (September) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Housing Market Index (October) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) Mortgage Index (Weekly) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Housing Starts & Building Permits (September) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Initial & Continuing Jobless Claims (Weekly) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Philadelphia Fed Index (October) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Leading Indicators (September)- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Existing Home Sales (September) -- Friday, Oct. 19


Corporate Earnings This Week

  • Citigroup (C) -- Monday, Oct. 15
  • Gannett (GCI) -- Monday, Oct. 15
  • Joe's Jeans (JOEZ) -- Monday, Oct. 15
  • WD-40 (WDFC) -- Monday, Oct. 15

  • Apollo (APOL) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Cree (CREE) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Del Frisco's -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Domino's Pizza -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Fortinet (FTNT) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Goldman Sachs (GS) --  -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • W.W. Grainger (GWW) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Intel -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Coca-Cola (KO) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Mattel (MAT) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • PNC Financial Services (PNC) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16
  • Sonic (SONC) -- Tuesday, Oct. 16

  • Abbott Labs (ABT) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • ASML -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • American Express (AXP) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Badger Meter (BMI) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Check Point Software (CHKP) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • CSX (CSX) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • eBay (EBAY) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Lam Research -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Mellanox Technologies (MLNX) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Pepsico -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Piper Jaffray (PJC) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Stanley Works (SWK) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17
  • Textron (TXT) -- Wednesday, Oct. 17

  • Acacia Research (ACTG) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Advanced Micro Devices -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Briggs & Stratton (BGG) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Cubist Pharmaceuticals (CBST) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Cypress Semiconductor (CY) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Danaher (DHR) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • E*Trade Financial (ETFC) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Ethan Allen Interiors (ETH) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • GATX (GMT) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Google (GOOG) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Morgan Stanley (MS) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Microsoft -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Nokia (NOK) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Polaris Industries (PII) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Philip Morris (PMI) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • PPG Industries (PPG) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • Snap-On (SNA) -- Thursday, Oct. 18
  • USG (USG) -- Thursday, Oct. 18

  • Air Products & Chemicals (APD) -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • Baker Hughes (BHI) -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • General Electric -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • Honeywell -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • Ingersoll-Rand (IR) -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • Kansas City Southern (KSU) -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • Parker Hannifin (PH) -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • Schlumberger (SLB) -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • Sensient Technologies (SXT) -- Friday, Oct. 19
  • Valmont Industries (VMI) -- Friday, Oct. 19


Upcoming Company Conferences

  • Integra LifeSciences  (IART) Investor Meeting, Oct. 24
  • Samsung Electronics Event -- Oct. 24
  • Microsoft Surface tablet and Windows 8 release date -- Oct. 26
  • Mattel 2012 Fall Analyst Meeting, Oct. 30


Upcoming Company and Investor Conferences

  • Brean Murray, Carret & Co. 2012 Life Sciences Summit, November 7
  • J. P. Morgan Asia Pacific TMT Conference, Nov. 12-13
  • Credit Suisse 2012 Healthcare Conference, Nov. 14
  • Roth Capital Partners Enterprise Software Corporate Access Day, Nov. 14
  • Jefferies 2012 Global Healthcare Conference, Nov. 14-15
  • UBS Global Technology Conference, Nov. 14-15
  • William Blair Second Annual Financial Services & Technology Summit, Nov. 15
  • William Blair Real Estate Services and Technology Summit, Nov. 16
  • UBS Global Real Estate Conference, Nov. 27-28
  • Credit Suisse 2012 Aerospace & Defense Conference, Nov. 28-29
  • Jefferies 2012 Global Energy Conference, Nov. 28-29
  • J.P. Morgan SMid Cap Conference, Nov. 28-29
  • UBS 40th Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, Dec. 3-5

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