Stocks could remain choppy as Fed fears overshadow earnings news
Traders on the floor of the NYSE, March 29, 2022.
Earnings season is upon us, and that might distract investors from other troubles, but that’s unlikely to be the big driver for the overall market over the coming week.
Investors will instead keep an eye on the things the market is worrying about – interest rates, inflation and the war in Ukraine – and they will sift through company commentary to see how those things impact the bottom line. .
A highlight of the week should be Thursday’s panel from the International Monetary Fund, which includes Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde, among others. The panel is a debate on the global economy and is to be moderated by CNBC’s Sara Eisen.
There are only a few economic reports, several of which focus on housing. The National Association of Home Builders’ survey is released Monday. Housing starts are reported on Tuesday and sales of existing homes on Wednesday. The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey is released on Thursday, and the manufacturing and services PMI surveys are released on Friday.
“I think the market is so focused on the Fed and inflation and everything else that stocks will have a very weak earnings response,” said Jonathan Golub, chief US equity strategist at Credit Suisse. “I think the market will go up, but the market is not going to give companies all the credit.”
Seven Dow blue chips report earnings next week, including IBM, Procter and Gamble, Travelers, Dow Inc, Johnson and Johnson, American Express and Verizon. Netflix reports Tuesday and Tesla reports Wednesday, both after the bell. Snapshot reports Thursday.
Bank profits will continue to rise, with Bank of America and Bank of New York Mellon reporting on Monday. Transportation companies will also release their numbers, including trucking companies Knight-Swift Transportation and JB Hunt Transport. United Airlines, American Airlines and Alaska Air are also on the schedule, as are CSX and Union Pacific Railroads.
“Forecasts are going to continue to be poor. Companies are going to complain and complain about cost pressures, even when they report better results,” Golub said. “I think it’s going to make things a bit more sloppy in terms of price action.”
Strategists expect there to be more misses and fewer beats in the first quarter earnings season. Earnings are expected to rise 6.3% for the first quarter, based on actual reports and estimates, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.
“I think you’re going to see a lot more differentiation and divergence,” said Keith Lerner, co-chief investment officer and chief market strategist at Truist. “I think you’re going to see some companies that have managed well and some that have earnings pressures. You’re going to see more extremes, compared to the overall strength of the last two years.”
Strategists expect the market to remain volatile as the Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates again in early May and continue to tighten policy this year.
“Our broader view is that we’re going to continue to be in this choppy wide range,” Lerner said. “The way I see it for the next two months is that there are no new highs and no new lows.”
The S&P 500 was down about 1.5% for the week on Thursday afternoon.
Rising bond yields weighed on the stock market last week, and the 10-year Treasury yield made a rapid move to a high of 2.83% on Wednesday from 2.70% the previous Friday. It was at 2.82% on Thursday.
The big focus for the bond market will be Powell’s comments on Thursday.
“I think Powell is going to be hawkish. He’s going to emphasize that they’re going to hike, hike, take stock and keep going,” said Michael Schumacher, director of rate strategy at Wells Fargo.
Neutral on equities
Lerner said uncertainty about the Fed is one of the reasons he cut the stock market from attractive to neutral last week. He also did so because of the rising yields and defensive positioning he sees in the stock market.
“Given the rise in yields, comparative valuations are now at a level where equities have historically averaged outperformance. [versus bonds] around 3.5%, rather than double digits when yields are lower,” he said.
Lerner said defensive sectors like consumer staples, health care, energy and REITs outperformed.
“When you look at the most economically sensitive sectors of the market – finance, transportation and homebuilders, they are all lagging behind. This tells us that the market is worried about slowing growth. “, did he declare. “Our view is that the risk of recession is still relatively low over the next year. However, that tells you that we are more likely to have a slowing economy. Part of that is the Fed and also the sticky inflation numbers.”
Calendar for the coming week
Earnings: Bank of America, JB Hunt, Charles Schwab, Synchrony Financial, Bank of NY Mellon, FNB
8:30 a.m. Survey of business leaders
10:00 a.m. NAHB Survey of Home Builders
4:00 p.m. St. Louis Fed President James Bullard
Earnings: IBM, Johnson and Johnson, Netflix, Travelers, Hasbro, Lockheed Martin, Interactive Brokers, Citizens Financial, ManpowerGroup, Truist Financial, Prologis
8:30 a.m. Start of housing
12:05 p.m. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans
Earnings: Procter and Gamble, Tesla, United Airlines, Nasdaq, CSX, Abbott Labs, Alcoa, Anthem, Baker Hughes, Comerica, Knight-Swift Transportation, GATX, Sleep Number, Tenet Healthcare, Alcoa, Equifax, Steel Dynamics, Lam Research, Equifax
10:00 a.m. Existing home sales
10:30 a.m. Mary Daly, President of the San Francisco Fed
11:30 a.m. Chicago Fed Evans
2:00 p.m. Beige Book
Earnings: AT&T, Dow, American Airlines, Blackstone, Union Pacific, Snap, Intuitive Surgical, PPG Industries, Keycorp, Danaher, Freeport McMoRan, Alaska Air, Pentair, Tractor Supply, Huntington Bancshares, Philip Morris Intl, Quest Diagnostics, Genuine Parts, Pentair
8:30 a.m. Initial Claims
8:30 a.m. Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing
1:00 p.m. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and ECB President Christine Lagarde at the IMF panel
Earnings: American Express, Verizon, SAP, Regions Financial, Schlumberger, Newmont Goldcorp, Cleveland Cliffs, Kimberly-Clark, HCA Healthcare
9:45 a.m. Manufacturing PMI
9:45 a.m. PMI Services