The past week was yet another choppy one in the markets, as European events continued to dominate headlines. Generally speaking, however, it was a pretty solid period for broad stocks as the S&P 500 added nearly 6% in the time period, helping to reverse much of the recent losses in the market. This sharp turnaround was largely due to speculation over an expanded EFSF and hopes that the continent’s two largest economies, Germany and France, would be able to cobble together a plan that would crush default fears once and for all. Additionally, investors also breathed a sign of relief over the situation in China. The country appears to be deploying at least part of its vast reserves in order to help ease the blow of tightening policies, suggesting that a hard landing might not be ahead for China after all, increasing investor sentiment in the process.
This week, investors will experience the heart of earnings season, as some of the nation’s biggest and most important firms give their quarterly updates to investors. A host of financial institutions, ranging from Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) to PNC and US Bank give their reports, ensuring that it will be yet another important period for this beleaguered industry. Other sectors also look to be in focus as well, as both UTX and GE report on the industrial side, while consumer product firms Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and Phillip Morris (NYSE:PM) also are due up.
Beyond earnings, there are also a number of key data points that investors will need to be aware of both at home and abroad. On the domestic front, investors will look to CPI reports to set the market tone and let us know if price increases are coming down the pike. Abroad, two important central banks are meeting, which could help to set expectations for both developed Europe and emerging Latin America heading into the winter. Lastly, investors should also be aware of China’s quarterly GDP report, which comes out before the bell on Tuesday, as this release could help to show investors how the emerging economy has been holding up in this difficult time. With this backdrop, investors should look for the following three ETFs to be in for an active week:
Merrill Lynch Semiconductor HOLDR (NYSEARCA:SMH)
Why SMH Will Be In Focus: With Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) estimate crushing earnings report last week, many investors will likely be looking for a similar performance in other corners of the tech world this week. One of the biggest tech companies that reports during this period is Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), the processing chip giant which gives its update after the bell on Tuesday. Currently, the consensus estimate calls for earnings of 61 cents a share on revenues of $13.9 billion, which both represent solid levels of growth from the year ago period. Expectations are likely to be high for the firm given GOOG’s performance last week and the solid history of INTC over the past few quarters. Due to this, investors should look for SMH, which allocates nearly one-quarter of its total assets to INTC, to be a big mover on the week.
Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services Index Fund (NYSEARCA:IYG)
Why IYG Will Be In Focus: JP Morgan (NYSE:JPM) is considered by many to be one of the strongest large banks in the country. Yet, even this financial titan appears to be succumbing to market forces as its most recent earnings report was less than robust, showing sharp declines in revenue in several key sectors. Thanks to this, investors will likely look to the multitude of financial firms that are reporting this week to set the record straight on the health of the American financial sector going into the end of the year.
In fact, seven of IYG’s top ten components report over the next five days, suggesting it could be an extremely volatile week for the fund. Likely to be among the most important, however, is Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) which reports on Monday and makes up the top allocation in the product. WFC looks to have earnings of about 73 cents a share on revenues of $20.22 billion, so should the company be able to beat these marks it could start out the week on a high note for investors in this fund [see holdings of IYG here].
Dow Jones U.S. Health Care Index Fund (NYSEARCA:IYH)
Why IYH Will Be In Focus: Much like the financials sector, a number of health care stocks are slated to report this week, ensuring that it will be an important period for space. In fact, of IYH’s top ten holdings half report over the next five days, including top component Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ). JNJ makes up nearly 12.5% of the fund and is a leader in not only the health care segment, but the consumer products space as well. The firm is expected to post earnings per share of about $1.21 on revenues of about $16.02 billion for the quarter. Should the New Jersey based company manage to beat out these estimates it could give a nice boost to the rest of the sector, especially if guidance for this market share leader comes in strong.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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