Wall Street Faces Earnings, Economic Data and Pre-Election Tension

Wall Street traders will be facing what some are referring to as the ‘three Es’ in the upcoming weeks, being earnings, elections and economic data. Third quarter earnings reports will pick up momentum during the week, with stock exchange listed companies due to report including Comcast, Procter & Gamble, 3M, Motorola, Exxon Mobil and Microsoft. While earnings reported have generally been better than expected so far, and the market has responded positively to this, some analysts are sounding a warning bell that the market may have become vulnerable to big sell-offs. Add to the third quarter earnings, the implications of the outcome of upcoming mid-term elections, a host of important economic reports, and the possibility of the Federal Reserve’s proposed quantitative easing measures which include the buying up of bank assets, and it is understandable that there are concerns over possible market volatility.

The week on Wall Street starts off quietly enough with the National Association of Realtors making available its monthly report relating to existing home sales. Tuesday sees the release of the Case-Shiller 20-City Index for August based on twenty major metropolitan areas, and experts are expecting an increase of 2 percent, as compared to the July report of 3.2 percent. The Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for October will be release mid-morning on Tuesday, with expectations of an increase to 49 on September’s 48.5 figure.

Wednesday kicks off with the Commerce Department’s report on orders for durable goods in the morning and the report for new home sales being released later in the day. Also on Wednesday, third quarter earnings are expected from Procter & Gamble and Comcast. The department of Labor will release its weekly jobless claims figures on Thursday, which is likely to reveal that the job market is still in a state of crisis. It is expected that new claims for unemployment will reach 455,000 – being 3,000 up from the previous week’s figure of 452,000. Corporate company third quarter earnings reports include Exxon Mobil, Motorola, and 3M. Microsoft’s earnings data will be released after the closing bell on Thursday. Friday sees the first reading on GDP growth in the third quarter – with estimates being that GDP likely grew at a 2 percent annualized rate, whereas the second quarter GDP grew at a 1.7 percent annualized rate. Also due on Friday is the consumer sentiment index for April, as compiled by the University of Michigan.