Q2 Results Dominate the Week Ahead

The upcoming week will see the trickle of second quarter results, and projected earnings, turn into a flood on Wall Street, which will no doubt have an impact on markets and investment decisions. More than a hundred of America’s largest and most influential companies will release data during the week, providing a clearer picture of the state of the economy, as well as providing some insight into consumer activity. The reporting season started off reasonably well with relatively good results from Alcoa and Intel, but last week ended with Citigroup, Bank of America and General Electric dishing out a dose of disappointment to investors. Adding to investor concern at the end of the week was the July consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan, which revealed consumer confidence to be at its lowest point in close to a year.

Up to 25 percent of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index companies will be reporting this week, including twelve Dow components. Companies that are considered to be market movers, and therefore of particular interest to investors, include Microsoft, IBM, AT&T, Apple, Wells Fargo, American Express and Coca-Cola. The Ford Motor company will also be reporting results this week, as will shipping giant United Parcel Service (UPS).

Investors will also be interested in the June housing starts and building permits to be released by authorities on Tuesday, with June’s existing home sales index compiled by the National Association of Realtors hitting Wall Street on Thursday. The much-publicized Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, generally referred to simply as the Wall Street Reform Bill, was approved by the Senate last week and will be signed into law by US President Barack Obama most likely on Wednesday, but certainly before the week is over. One of the aims of the Wall Street Reform Bill is to ensure that financial firms are more closely regulated, and that steps can be taken to avoid the need for the drastic rescue measures seen in the past eighteen months of so. While the bill has been met with both cynicism and optimism, it is generally agreed that the American consumer will be afforded a meaningful measure of debt protection which is likely to benefit individuals as well as the US economy into the future.