Monday, March 7, 2016
(This is Mark Vickery covering for Sheraz Mian.)
The S&P 500 ended the week at a rather poetic 1999.99 on Friday. The Dow saw its first close north of 17,000 since the first week of January. Oil prices gained nearly 10 percent over the course of last week, up more than $3 per barrel and are now up over $36. These have helped push the third straight week of gains in the market. Some may expect a self-imposed timeout today.
We have a week or so until the Fed meets again to address how to proceed on interest rates. No one really expects anything but a "hold" at this time, but strong numbers in the U.S. jobs market for another month last Friday puts an accelerating U.S. economy front and center within the next meeting. In any case, we've got this week to sort things out, including how Q4 earnings matched up with other recent quarters and expectations of those to come.
A good place to start is Zacks Director of Research Sheraz Mian's Earnings Preview, released Friday: Retail Results Weak As Other Sectors . You'll see how the recently reported Retail sector measured up to another overall sluggish-growth Q4 period, as well as how Q1 estimates have been turning.
You'll also see that there are still 250 companies yet to report earnings results, but the earnings recession is likely to continue, at least for the S&P, with overall Q1 earnings growth expected at a woeful -9.3 percent. Even the strong jobs numbers came with a trace of distress: the average hourly work rate is down slightly from last month.
The European Central Bank (ECB) meets this Thursday, and we shall see if it will lower interest rates further. In China, it was announced growth expectations for 2016 to be between 6.5-7 percent. With little on the economic calendar this week here in the U.S., we'll be a bit more mindful of what's happening globally. So, likely, will the Fed.