Third Quarter Earnings Loom Ahead

Friday saw stocks on Wall Street falling for the third straight session, after having enjoyed a fairly consistent rally since the lows of March. It would appear that investors reacted negatively to the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Wednesday, with Thursday’s dismal existing home sales report, durable goods orders and oil slump, as well as a mix of disappointing economic news on Friday adding to the Wall Street gloom. While many in the know are disappointed at the retreat, few are surprised, anticipating that the road to recovery is going to be a lot rockier than has been indicated recently by stock market performance.

The coming weeks will certainly be interesting for investors, as third quarter earnings start to come into the picture. Depending on what is presented the market may see dip-buyers taking advantage of the current situation, or there may be a greater sell-off. Previous quarter earnings for many stock market listed companies were boosted by cost-cutting measures. But it is unlikely that any further costs can be cut, and with consumers still holding back on spending, third quarter results are bound to be affected negatively.

With Monday being the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, it is anticipated that trading will be light on Wall Street as economic and earnings news will be in short supply. Tuesday sees the Conference Board release September’s consumer confidence index early in the day, with expectations that it will have risen from August’s figure of 54.1 to 57.0 for September. Analysts expect the Case-Shiller 20 city home price index due on Tuesday to indicate a slowing down of the pace of falling home prices. While it may seem like it was only yesterday, Tuesday is the one-year anniversary of the biggest one-day point loss ever experienced by the Dow. This time last year saw the blue chip average nose-dive 777.68 points with the broad market shedding $1.2 trillion in market value. This history-making event came about after the House of Representatives turned down the US government’s initial $700 billion bank bailout plan.

Wednesday sees the release of ADP’s report on job cuts in the private sector, which is believed to have dropped from 298,000 in July to 200,000 in August. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn is due to speak at the Cato Institute in Washington in the afternoon, where it is expected he will addressthe subject of so-called “exit strategies” for the trillions of dollars of bail-out money injected into the economy in the past year. Wednesday is the last day of the 2009 fiscal-year for the US government, as well as being the last day of the third-quarter. Thursday starts with the Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims report which is expected to have risen by 5,000 over the previous week. Personal income is anticipated to have climbed 0.1 percent in August with spending predicted to have risen 1.1 percent. Other reports due on Thursday include the ISM index, construction spending and auto and track sales. The Labor Department’s September jobs report will be released before the start of trading on Friday, with the unemployment rate expected to have risen to 9.8 percent.