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FOMC minutes, retail earnings — What to know in the week ahead

Heidi Chung

A couple of key events this week will be grabbing the attention of market watchers.

Earnings season is coming to a close. About 94% of the S&P 500’s market cap has already reported quarterly results, but this week some key retailers will be gearing up to report.

This week, 22 companies representing nearly 4% of the S&P 500 will be releasing results. Some big names include Home Depot, Kohl’s and Nordstrom on Tuesday; Lowe’s and Target on Wednesday; Best Buy on Thursday.

“Earnings are beating by 6.6%, with 72% of companies exceeding their bottom-line estimates. This compares to 5.4% and 71% over the past 3 years,” Credit Suisse strategist Jonathan Golub wrote in a note Friday. “Companies beating on both the top- and bottom-lines have outperformed by 1.1%, while those missing on both have lagged by -3.2%. This compares to 1.8% and -3.4%, historically.”

Meanwhile on Wednesday, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will be releasing its minutes from its last meeting at 2 p.m. ET. The Fed held interest rates steady at 2.25% to 2.50% and noted that inflation was running below its target of 2%.

Nevertheless, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments during the press conference that some “transitory” factors could be impacting inflation rattled investors and sent the markets into a frenzy.

Investors will likely turn to the minutes released on Wednesday for additional clues as to what Powell could have meant when he alluded to transitory factors.

The minutes from the April/May FOMC meeting will likely provide additional context for the Committee’s decision to adopt a consensus view of “transitory” pressures causing weakness in core inflation. Powell’s comments at the May press conference appeared to downplay the recent weakness,” Nomura wrote in a note Friday. “It is possible that the Committee wished to dampen market expectations of the FOMC cutting rates in response to low inflation. We will also closely monitor participants’ views on the preferred direction of the next policy rate view, the balance of risks, and any new developments on balance sheet policy.”

Economic calendar

Monday: Chicago Fed National Activity Index, April (-0.15 prior)

Tuesday: Existing Home Sales month-on-month, April (5.35 million expected, 5.21 million prior)

Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, week ended May 17 (-0.6% prior)

Thursday: Initial Jobless Claims, week ended May 18 (215,000 expected, 212,000 prior); Continuing Claims, week ended May 11 (1.670 million expected, 1.660 million prior); Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, week ended May 19 (59.9 prior), Markit US Manufacturing PMI, May (52.7 expected, 52.6 prior); Markit US Services PMI, May (53.4 expected, 53.0 prior); Markit US Composite PMI, May (53.0 prior); New Home Sales, April (675,000 expected, 692,000 prior)

Friday: Durable Goods Orders, April (-2.0% expected, +2.6% prior); Durable Goods Orders excluding Transportation, April (+0.2% expected, +0.3% prior)

Earnings calendar

Monday: N/A

Tuesday: AutoZone (AZO), Home Depot (HD), J.C. Penney (JCP), Kohl’s (KSS), TJX Companies (TJX) before market open; Nordstrom (JWN); Toll Brothers (TOL), Urban Outfitters (URBN) after market close

Wednesday: Advanced Auto Parts (AAP), Lowe’s (LOW), Target (TGT), V.F. Corp (VFC) before market open; L Brands (LB) after market close

Thursday: Best Buy (BBY), Hormel Foods (HRL) before market open; Autodesk (ADSK), Lions Gate (LGF-A), Ross Stores (ROST) after market close

Friday: Foot Locker (FL) before market open