Market Overview

Concerns over inflationary pressure on earnings will test stocks in the week ahead

Earnings will be the major focus for investors in the week ahead, as they home in on whether rising costs are squeezing margins and signaling a build in inflationary pressures. From Coca-Cola and IBM to Johnson & Johnson and Netflix, investors will hear from a broad swath of corporate America.

So far, with one week in, companies are beating earnings estimates by a wide margin of more than 84%, according to Refinitiv. This three-month period is the first to be compared to year earlier profits that were affected by the pandemic. Profit growth for the S&P 500 is a stunning 30.2% for the quarter so far, based on actual reports and estimates. That makes it the best three-month period since the third quarter of 2010, according to FactSet.

Major banks, like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America reported better than expected profits in the past week. The S&P 500 ended the week at a record high of 4,185, a gain of 1.4%. The Dow, higher for a fourth week, gained 1.2 to end the week at a record 34,200. Nasdaq gained 1.1% for the week, finishing at 14,052. Utilities was the best performing major S&P sector, gaining 3.7%, followed by materials, up 3.2% and health care, up 2.9%. Technology was up 1%. Financials were up 0.7%, while industrials were up 0.6%.

President Joe Biden has proposed raising corporate taxes to 28% from 21% to help pay for his infrastructure plan. While the fate of the tax hike is still not clear, the increase in other costs is apparent. Fuel costs have risen sharply with a 30% rise in oil prices since the beginning of the year. Lumber prices in the futures market are at an all-time high and copper futures are up about 17% year-to-date.

In the past week, economic reports underscored how strong the economic momentum could be in the second quarter. Retail sales for March were up nearly 10%, and jobless claims were the lowest of the recovery. There is little data in the week ahead, aside from PMI manufacturing and services data Friday. But the markets will keep a close eye on unemployment figures after Thursday’s report of 576,000 new claims — the lowest level since the early days of the pandemic.

Concerns over inflationary pressure on earnings will test stocks in the week ahead, CNBC, Apr 19

Article Rating