The wild ride in markets is likely to power on this week, with investors in store for a slew of big earnings and fresh reads on key unemployment data out of Washington, including the ever-important monthly jobs report.
Monday kicks off a pivotal week in the earnings season, with more than 100 companies in the S&P 500 set to report fourth quarter results through Friday. Most notably, investors will tune in to presentations from Amazon (AMZN), Facebook now Meta Platforms (FB), and Alphabet (GOOG, GOOGL), three of the five corporate heavyweights that account for about one-quarter of the benchmark’s total market capitalization.
Amazon is scheduled to report figures for the last three months of 2021 after the bell on Thursday. Analysts expect adjusted earnings per share of $3.89 on revenue of $137.87 billion. With the stock down 15.5% year-to-date as of Friday’s close, a look at fourth quarter performance could be a make-or-break moment for the e-commerce giant as markets reassess tech valuations.
Facebook, known now by its rebrand to Meta Platforms, has also been under pressure in recent weeks amid the broader sell-off in technology stocks. Investors are likely to get more details about the company’s progress on its Oculus virtual reality headset when it reports on Tuesday, which stock watchers expect could give the social media platform a needed boost. Facebook is projected to report earnings of $3.83 per share, on revenue of $33.44 billion, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates.
Results from Alphabet, due out Tuesday, are expected to show adjusted earnings per share of $27.45 on revenue of $59.38 billion. Also bearing the brunt of the tech rout, shares of Alphabet are down 8% year-to-date. Stock watchers will tune in for a gauge on the momentum of its cloud platform, a component that has contributed greatly to the company’s growth and could help the stock see a rebound.
On the economic front, employment data will be in the spotlight this week. The Department of Labor’s monthly jobs report due for release on Friday will offer an updated look at the strength of hiring and labor force participation — important measures of the U.S. economy, made even more consequential in recent weeks as the impact of the latest Omicron-driven wave begins to appear in the latest surveys. Economists expect private employers added 150,000 jobs in January, lower than the previous month. The unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged from December at 3.9%, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates.
Even as Omicron’s spread may be slowing, payrolls are likely to be a bit slower to respond to falling COVID-19 cases than the real-time activity data, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics Chief Economist Ian Shepherdson.
“The surge in COVID cases has created new headwinds for the economy even as tailwinds, including the federal government’s fiscal boosts, are waning,” Bankrate senior economic analyst Mark Hamrick said in a note.
“The detrimental combination of supply chain constraints and the shortage, or lack of availability, of workers amid the Omicron surge is weighing on the nation’s economic recovery,” adding that under the circumstances, “it is hard to make the case for a huge acceleration in hiring this month.”
End of a volatile month for equities
Federal Reserve anxiety has made for a volatile January for equities. The S&P 500 is poised to end the month down 7% and 8% off its all-time high as traders adjust to the reality of a more aggressive central bank and a quicker pace of interest rate hikes than initially anticipated.
Stocks whipsawed last week after remarks from Jerome Powell following the Fed’s two-day policy-setting meeting that strongly signaled a liftoff on interest rates to above their current near-zero levels was likely to come in March as policymakers look to tighten financial conditions amid a backdrop of surging inflation.
“Anytime the Fed is going from really easy to starting to tighten, there’s always uncertainty, but this has been a stomach-churning week,” Wells Fargo Investment Institute senior global equity strategist Scott Wren told Yahoo Finance Live, adding that every day has been a battle of the 200-day moving average in the S&P 500.
Powell, taking on his most hawkish tone yet, prompted even big Fed watchers to sharply ramp up and revise their calls on rate hikes: Bank of America unveiled one of the most aggressive predictions on the Street, outlining expectations for seven increases this year, while JPMorgan upwardly revised its outlook from four to five hikes. On Saturday, Goldman Sachs revised its interest rate hike expectation to five times from four this year.
Charles Schwab chief fixed income strategist Kathy Jones told Yahoo Finance Live, however, that it is “premature” to talk about much more than three until the Fed offers more clarity around how it will use its balance sheet to tighten policy.
“Some of the estimates are just well ahead of reality at this stage of the game,” she said.
As investors buckle up for swing after swing, TKer’s Sam Ro points out that “gut-wrenching sell-offs are normal:” the S&P 500 sees three sell-offs of 5% or greater in an average year, with the maximum average annual drawdown — or biggest intra-year sell-off — at 14%, making even the sharpest of gyrations in benchmarks in recent weeks “very much within the realm of average.”
Monday: MNI Chicago PMI, January (61.8 expected, 63.1 prior, upwardly revised to 64.3); Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, January (8.5 expected, 8.1 prior)
Tuesday: Markit US Manufacturing PMI, January final (55.0 expected, 55.0 prior); Construction Spending, month over month, December (0.6% expected, 0.4% during prior month); ISM New Orders, January (60.4% prior month, upwardly revised to 61.0%); ISM Manufacturing, January (57.5 expected, 58.7 during prior month, upwardly revised to 58.8); ISM Employment, January (54.2 prior month, downwardly revised to 53.9); ISM Prices Paid, January (67.0 expected, 68.2 prior month); JOLTS job openings, December (10.3 million prior month); WARDS Total Vehicle Sales, January (12.7 million expected, 12.44 million prior month)
Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, week ended Jan. 28 (-7.1% during prior week); ADP Employment Change, January (200,000 expected, 807,000 prior month)
Thursday: Challenger Job Cuts, year over year, January (-75.3% prior); Unit Labor Costs, fourth quarter preliminary (1.0% expected, 9.6% during prior quarter); Nonfarm Productivity, fourth quarter preliminary (3.2% expected, -5.2% expected); Initial Jobless Claims, week ended Jan. 29 (250,000 expected, 260,000 during prior week); Continuing Claims, week ended Jan. 22 (1.6 million expected, 1.675 million during prior week); Markit US Services PMI, January final (50.9 expected, 50.9 prior month); Markit US Composite PMI, January final (50.8 expected, 50.8 prior month); ISM Services Index, January (59.0 expected, 62.0 prior); Durable Goods Orders, December final (-0.9% prior); Factory Orders Excluding Transportation, December (0.8% final) Durable Goods Excluding Transportation, December final (0.4% prior); Capital Goods Orders Nondefense Excluding Aircrafts, December final (0.0%); Capital Goods Shipments Nondefense Excluding Aircrafts, December final (1.3%)
Friday: Revisions – Employment Report, Establishment Survey; Two-Month Payroll Net Revision, January (141,000 prior); Change in Private Payrolls, January (150,000 expected, 211,000 prior month); Change in Manufacturing Payrolls, January (20,000 expected, 27,000 prior month); Unemployment Rate, January (3.9% expected, 3.9% prior); Average Hourly Earnings, month over month, January (0.5% expected, 0.6% prior month); Average Hourly Earnings, year over year, January (5.2% expected, 4.7% prior month); Average Weekly Hours All Employees, January (34.7 expected, 34.7 prior month); Labor Force Participation Rate, January (61.9% expected, 61.9% prior month); Underemployment Rate, January (7.3% prior month)
Tuesday: UPS (UPS) before market open, Sirius XM (SIRI) before market open, Alphabet (GOOG) after market close, General Motors (GM) at market close, Starbucks (SBUX) after market close, AMD (AMD) after market close, PayPal Holdings (PYPL) after market close, Match Group (MTCH) after market close and Electronic Arts (EA) after market close, Gilead (GILD) after market close
Wednesday: AmerisourceBergen (ABC) before market open, AbbVie (ABBV) before market open, Humana (HUM), ThermoFisher Scientific (TMO), Marathon Petroleum (MPC) before market open, T-Mobile (TMUS) after market close, Qualcomm (QCOM) after market open, Meta Platforms (FB) after market close, Boston Scientific (BSX) after market close
Thursday: Merck (MRK) before market open, Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) before market open, HoneyWell (HON) before market open, Estee Lauder (EL) before market open, Cardinal Health (CAH) before market open, Shell plc (RDS-b) before market open, Cigna (CI) before market open, Amazon (AMZN) before market open, Ford (F) before market open, Snap (SNAP) before market open, Pinterest (PINS) before market open, Activation Blizzard (ATVI) before market open, Skechers (SKX) before market open, GoPro (GPRO) before market open, Fortinet (FTNT) before market open, News Corp. (NWSA) before market open, Unity Software (U) before market open
Friday: Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Bristol-Myers (BMY) before market open, Regeneron (REGN) before market open, Aon (AON) before market open, Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL), Eaton (ETN), CBOE Global Markets (CBOE)
Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc