A fresh week is just around the corner, and with it will come a new set of economic data reports and earnings releases. Since these reports can have a large effect on Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) and the other major indexes, it's helpful for investors to know what to watch out for. So let's look at what's on tap this coming week.
Earnings reports to watch
Monday will be a slow day on the earnings front, but Tuesday has a number of big names reporting after the closing bell. Tech giants Adobe Systems and Oracle are expected to post revenue of $937.09 million and $9.36 billion, respectively, while earnings are estimated to hit $0.25 and $0.70 per share. Hertz will report, too, and analysts want to see $2.62 billion in sales and $0.32 per share in earnings.
Things get a little hotter on Wednesday as FedEx, often considered an economic bellwether, reports before the opening bell. Analysts are looking for $11.46 billion in revenue and $1.51 in earnings per share. General Mills is also set to announce before the bell, with expected revenue of $4.43 billion and earnings of $0.65 per share. Retailers Vera Bradley and Guess will step up on Wednesday, too, with expectations for revenue of $146.86 million and earnings of $0.46 at Vera Bradley, while Wall Street wants to see $762.58 million and $0.80 per share from Guess.
On Thursday before the markets open, ConAgra Foods is set to report. Analysts are expecting revenue of $4.35 billion and earnings per share of $0.60. After the closing bell, Nike and Silver Wheaton will announce. Wall Street wants to see revenue of $6.7 billion and earnings of $0.72 per share from Nike and sales of $197.09 million and earnings of $0.25 from Siler Wheaton.
Finally on Friday, Darden Restaurants and Tiffany will both report before the opening bell. Analysts are looking for revenue of $2.26 billion and earnings per share of $0.82 from the restaurant chain, while they want to see $1.31 billion and $1.52 from Tiffany.
Economic reports to watch
The week starts off with the National Association of Home Builders' latest housing index data. The reading for March is expected to hit 50, after coming in at 46 in February. Anything below 50 means the industry is contracting, while anything above 50 indicates growth. February's reading was 10 points below January's, so economists and investors are expecting to see a nice bounce back.
On Tuesday the Federal Open Market Committee meeting begins, and we'll also see data on housing starts and the Consumer Price Index for February. Housing starts in January were weak, with the blame placed on bad weather, and although economists believe February's figures will be better, they aren't expecting a blowout. In January, starts hit 880,000, while permits came in at 937,000. Analysts are looking for starts to rise to 910,000 and permits to climb to 960,000 in February. As for the Consumer Price Index, economists believe it will rise 0.1% in February, after inching higher by the same amount in January and by 0.2% in December.
The most important economic news of the week comes Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET, when investors will learn the Federal Reserve's latest plans for interest rates and its ongoing asset purchases. During the past two FOMC meetings, members voted to reduce asset purchases by $10 billion each meeting. The chair's press conference will follow at 2:30.
Thursday is jam-packed with economic reports. The weekly jobless claims report is expected to hit 325,000, up from last week's 315,000. The widely followed Philadelphia Fed Survey, which many believe is a good indicator of the manufacturing sector's trends, is expected to come in at 3.0 for general business conditions, up from a negative-6.3 in February. And finally, existing-home sales for February are expected to come in at a 4.600 million annual rate, after sales figures dropped in January to a 4.62 million because of higher mortgage rates, higher housing prices, and limited supply.
Friday's only major release will be the Atlanta Fed Business inflation expectations, which are gauged by surveying businesses around the country and lays out expectations for the year ahead. This data can help businesses plan for the future and determine how costs may affect their goals.