Investors Hopeful of Continued Upward Trend
While stock market investors have their hopes pinned on Wall Street continuing its upward trend of the past eight weeks, some analysts are of the opinion that caution should rule in the coming week, as first quarter results flood in and Fed meeting outcomes regarding interest rates are made known on Wednesday. The positives that have driven the market upward in recent weeks include American Express, Citigroup and Apple, among others, producing results exceeding expectations. Moreover, government reports revealed signs of recovery in the US housing market, as March new home sales experienced a dramatic rise over February’s figure. Some of the negatives hounding investors include the SEC’s possible fraud charges against Goldman Sachs, (which some fear may open a Pandora’s Box), as well as issues regarding reforms on Wall Street.
Based on first quarter results released thus far, there may very well be good reason to expect the upward trend to continue. 172 companies listed in the S&P 500 have reported, with more than 80 percent beating expectations on earnings and revenue. Thomson Reuters have been tracking quarterly results for fifteen years now, and the average of companies performing above forecast inn a quarter sits at around 61 percent. While it is acknowledged that, given the circumstances facing companies this time last year, reporting a comparative growth may be relatively easy, the tech sector is performing particularly well.
Companies expected to release their first quarter results this week include Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Ford Motor Co, Procter & Gamble, UPS and Texas Instruments. The week is likely to start off quietly with no major financial information being released; however, the Senate will be taking up a test vote regarding regulation reform on Wall Street on Monday. Shortly after start of trade on Tuesday, the Consumer Confidence index from the Conference Board will be released and is expected to have climbed from 52.5 in March to 54 for April. Also on Tuesday, a Senate hearing is to be held regarding the 2008 market meltdown and the role that investment banks played in this history-making event.
Wednesday sees the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting of the Federal Reserve. Investors will be keen to hear what conclusion has been reached with regard to interest rates, as well as the road forward in the withdrawal of the stimulus and bail-out funds which ran into trillions. Weekly and continuing jobless claims are due by the Department of Labor on Thursday, while Friday sees the release of the first reading on GDP first quarter growth.