NEW YORK (
) -- The market resumed its slow spiral lower on Monday but that's likely the calm before this week's storm.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
with only Friday's low-volume, week-saving rally providing a respite from trading screens flashing red.
Tuesday, though, brings some serious headline firepower, starting off with a triple dose of market-moving events, the first real hectic day of earnings season with three Dow components reporting, the consumer price index for June and probably most importantly, an appearance by
Chairman Ben Bernanke before Congress.
With Wall Street poised for another day of measuring Bernanke's words and reading his body language to determine his inclination toward further easing, Credit Suisse gave its timetable for QE3 on Monday and wondered just how much of an impact any action was likely to have at this point. The firm believes QE3 is "looking increasingly likely before Election Day in November" with the announcement most likely coming at the central bank's mid-September policy meeting.
"This raises a natural question: Will additional QE work?," Credit Suisse wrote. "After all, few would argue that US interest rates are too high or that banks in the US need still more excess reserves. Empirical studies on the effectiveness of the Fed's balance sheet operations suggest that asset purchases designed to address general economic malaise are less potent than programs targeted at specific market disruptions. Even QE proponents stress that asset purchases are not the silver bullet that will cure all that ails the US economy."
That ailing U.S. economy is what's starting to really weigh on the minds of investors during this straight summer of the soft patch. Prior to Friday's rally, Deutsche Bank stuck by its year-end call for the S&P 500 to finish 2012 at 1475 but it went on the record as saying the next big 5%-plus move is more likely to be the downside than up.
"This is the 3rd soft patch since the recession ended and, so far, investors seem less prone to panic," Credit Suisse wrote. "This is probably because of prior wolf cries and missed buying opportunities in 2010 and 2011. However, soft patch III is arguably worse than I and II as this time it includes Asia. Although valuations are supportive and should provide upside on mere recession absence, it is important to consider that soft patches can easily trigger corrections."
The firm expects volatility to persist through the summer with the S&P 500 likely to stay within the 1250-1400 range and be prone to sudden swings.
"Position for rallies when S&P is under 1300 and dips when S&P is over 1350," Credit Suisse advised.
As for Tuesday's scheduled news,
is one of the three Dow components set to open the books. The average estimate of analysts polled by
is for a profit of $1.19 a share from the cola king in the latest three months on revenue of $12.98 billion.
Coke shares fell 1% to close Monday at $76.48 ahead of the numbers. Year-to-date, the stock is up 9.5%, outpacing the Dow's 4.2% gain. Jim Cramer said earlier Monday that
shares of the Atlanta-based soda giant if its numbers take a hit on currency exchange issues. He's also wondering how much Coke's bottom line will be impacted by the increase in the price of corn.
The sell side is bullish with 13 of the 18 analysts covering the stock at strong buy (6) or buy (7). The company has topped the consensus view in four straight quarters; albeit by a small margin though with its average upside surprise over that span at 1.5%.
Check out TheStreet's quote page for Coca-Cola for year-to-date share performance, analyst ratings, earnings estimates and much more.
Other big reports due on Tuesday include
, and the other two Dow components
Johnson & Johnson
Goldman and J&J are before the bell. Wall Street is looking for earnings of $1.13 a share on revenue of $$6.28 billion from Goldman, whose stock is up 4% so far in 2012. The average estimate of analysts polled by
is for a profit of $1.29 a share on revenue of $16.7 billion from J&J. Shares of the Dow component have gained 3.3% year-to-date, but the sell side is mostly positive with 17 of 26 analysts at strong buy (8) or buy (9) and the 12-month median price target at $72.
That leaves Intel, which should provide a gauge of just how much Europe's debt crisis is hurting the tech sector. There's plenty of nervousness about Intel's guidance after rival
Advanced Micro Devices
slashed its top-line view last week. Intel will probably want to talk up its recent spate of deals with
but investors are going to be all about the outlook.
Here's what FBR Capital Markets, which made a big, fairly bearish call on the chips this morning, had to say about Intel ahead of the numbers. The firm has a market perform rating on the stock, the equivalent of a hold.
"Results for 2Q12 likely tracked as expected as strength in servers (Romley) offsets weakness in client shipments, and with 3Q12 likely guided in line to slightly worse than the Street," FBR said. "Weak PC shipments reported by market research firms confirm additional weakness is possible. Shares have outperformed peers given flight-to-quality status, large share repurchases, and a 3% dividend yield. Recent news about WoA has not been positive, likely allowing Intel and AMD to keep more of the PC market over time. Share repurchases could push shares toward $30 late this year, but limited client PC unit growth likely caps upside."
The average estimate of analysts polled by
is for earnings of 52 cents a share on revenue of $13.56 billion from Intel in the June-ended period. The stock closed Monday's regular session at $25.13, up 2% since the start of the year.
Elsewhere on the earnings calendar, Tuesday's morning reporters include
Kansas City Southern
Aside from Intel, the late roster features
The economic calendar includes the consumer price index for June at 8:30 a.m. ET; industrial production and capacity utilization data for June at 9:15 a.m. ET; and the National Home Builders Association's housing market index for July at 10 a.m. ET.
And finally, the big mover in Monday's after-hours action was Yahoo!, which finally ended its leadership search,
, otherwise known as employee no. 20 at
as its chief executive officer.
While there are already voices
, investors seem to be in favor of the choice. Yahoo! shares were last quoted at $15.96, up 2%, on extended volume of nearly 2.5 million, according to
Written by Michael Baron in New York.
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