Some Highlights of Wall Street’s Week Ahead
In a market where the phrase “less worse” appears to be an acceptable replacement for “improved” when discussing stock market performance, analysts and investors are grasping at any news that may be seen as positive. While Thursday saw major stock indices ending slightly lower, the unofficial closing figures revealed that the Dow ended the month of April on a positive note with an increase of 7.4 percent, while the Nasdaq climbed 12.4 percent and the S&P 500 jumped 9.4 percent for the month.
Heading into the new week, some of the focus will no doubt be on the results of the Treasury’s bank stress test which are due on Thursday. While many are of the opinion that the U.S. government will not allow failure of any of the nineteen banks being scrutinized, investors are nonetheless interested in the results of the stress tests, along with any plans authorities may put into place to assist the banking sector. With the banking sector showing some signs of stabilizing, there is no longer as much of a sense of urgency surrounding the stress tests as when they were first proposed.
The employment report for April is due to be released on Friday, and while steep job losses are expected the general consensus is that this will not have a drastic or long term impact on a market that appears to be bottoming out. Historically it has been shown that unemployment figures continue to rise as a recession draws to a close.,/p>
Other major corporations expected to release first quarter results include Sprint Nextel, Walt Disney, AIG and Cisco Systems. Approximately two-thirds of first quarter results are out, with Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Ford Motor being among the influential companies to have reported results that were better than expected. Other upcoming reports of interest to investors include the National Association of Realtors’ March pending home sales report due out on Monday; the Institute for Supply Management’s services sector index for April is due on Tuesday; also on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will present his economic outlook to the Joint Economic Committee in Washington; Wednesday sees the release of private sector employment readings by payroll services firm ADP; the FDIC’s chief, Sheila Blair, testifies at a Senate Banking Committee hearing focusign on banks that have been seen as being “too big to fail”; and Bernanke will be expounding the topic of banking supervision at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s conference on Thursday.