Will Wall Street Rally Continue?
Last week ended on an upbeat note on Wall Street, with the Dow Jones industrial average making it past the 9,000 mark for the first time since January this year. The Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Nasdaq composite also rallied during the week, primarily on the strength of better than expected second quarter results and/or improved future forecasts by a number of corporate companies across the board, including AT&T, 3M Co, Wyeth, Caterpillar and Hershey. Investors were reassured, to some extent, that Wall Street had resumed the rally after hitting a bumpy patch in mid-June over concerns regarding economic recovery.
Stock market traders are no doubt keen to see whether this upbeat trend will continue into the coming week as they await another batch of second quarter results from corporate companies including Colgate-Palmolive, Visa, Kelogg, Motorola, MetLife, Chevron, Walt Disney, Verizon Communications, Travelers and ExxonMobil. Analysts have been quick to point out though, that while net income figures may have been better than expected, they have primarily been as a result of companies cutting costs, rather than bringing in more revenue. Most stock-listed companies have done as much cost cutting they can without affecting their performance, and going into the future, investors will want to see improved sales figures and revenue as they gauge the demand for goods and services in an economy where consumers are redefining what can be considered an “essential” item.
In the week ahead, the Commerce Department will be releasing its new home sales index following the start of trade on Monday. It is anticipated that sales will have risen to a 355,000 annualized rate, following May’s 342,000 annualized rate. On Tuesday the market will receive a reading on July consumer confidence from the Conference Board – a non-profit global business organization that conducts business management research. Wednesday sees the release of the June durable goods orders report by the Census Bureau, as well as the Energy Information Administration’s weekly crude oil inventories report and the Federal Reserve’s beige book, reporting the economic activity in the twelve districts under its jurisdiction. Weekly unemployment claims are due in the morning, and it is expected that these will have increased from last week’s 554,000 to 585,000. Friday sees the release of the initial reading on second quarter gross domestic product growth. So, all in all, stock market traders have a wave of news headed their way that will likely affect their investment decisions in the week ahead.