Second Quarter Reporting Begins

With the US job situation and its related impact on economic recovery having dominated markets in the past two months or so, the release of second quarter results by stock market listed companiesis set to capture investor attention in the upcoming week. Influential companies publishing results in the week ahead include Alcoa (NYSE:AA), continuing the tradition of being first to make results known, as well as JP Morgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM), Citigroup (NYSE:C), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG). Apart from a few other companies, other stock market listed firms will begin reporting from next week, but investors will be able to get an indication from this week’s releases, all of which are prominent in their various sectors.

Analysts are less than optimistic about second quarter results, an attitude which appears to be justified in light of Fridays dismal jobs report which revealed that only 18,000 job were created in the month of June –a figure that was not even close to expectations. It has been noted that, while second quarter results are significant and will be thoroughly scrutinized, just as important, if not more so, will be each company’s outlook for the third quarter and through to the end of the year. Without even seeing the results, some analysts are already giving reasons, or justifications, for poor performance, saying that the inclement weather experienced in the United States and the disasters suffered by Japan are sure to have had a negative impact on performance.

Economic reports of interest to investors in the week ahead include Tuesday’s US trade balance figures for the month of May, with expectations being a $44 billion trade deficit for the month. Also on Tuesday is the publication of the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee’s (FOMC) meeting minutes for June. The Energy Department releases its weekly oil inventories report on Wednesday morning, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke begins his semiannual testimony before Congress, making his presentation to the Committee on Financials Services of the House of Representatives.

On Thursday, Bernanke appears before the Senate’s Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to continue his semiannual testimony. Also on Thursday, the Labor Department issues its June report on the producer price index, as well as the report on weekly jobless claims. Third quarter results will be released before Thursday’s opening bell, with Google releasing results after the bell. On Friday investors can expect June consumer price index data from the Labor Department, as well as University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index for July and June industrial production figures. Citigroup’s results will be made public on Friday.