The major indexes have started off the week in slightly negative territory, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) and the broader S&P 500 (SNPINDEX:^GSPC) both down about 0.1% at 10:15 a.m. EDT. As investors look forward to the week just underway, these are the events that will matter.
The micro view
This is a heavy week for earnings, with 155 companies in the S&P 500 reporting results, including seven Dow components, which are shown below. By week's end, more than half of the companies in the S&P 500 will have reported earnings.
- Monday: Caterpillar
- Tuesday: 3M, E.I. du Pont de Nemours, United Technologies
- Wednesday: AT&T, Boeing
- Thursday: Procter & Gamble
- Friday: Merck
In fact, Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) reported before the market's open this morning. In what now appears to be a familiar refrain in the U.S., the company beat expectations for the third quarter ($2.54 ex-items versus $2.22) but went on to lower guidance for the full year from $9.40 to a range of $9 to $9.25. Curiously, the market is shaking off the news and lifting the shares 2% as of 10:15 a.m. EDT. What does the market know? Is Caterpillar a buy at these levels? Click here to order The Motley Fool's premium report and receive a full assessment of the opportunities and potential risks facing Caterpillar, along with a year of free updates.
The macro view
On the central-bankers' front, the highlight of the week for U.S. stock market investors should be the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which sets short-term interest rates, beginning on Tuesday. As the Financial Times' U.S. economics editor, Robin Harding, writes: "The FOMC meeting is likely to involve preparation for big decisions rather than the decisions themselves. One topic on the agenda will be a "broad discussion" of making a consensus FOMC forecast although agreement on how to do that remains some way off."
Alex Dumortier, CFA has no positions in the stocks mentioned above; you can follow him @longrunreturns. The Motley Fool has no positions in the stocks mentioned above. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.