After a deluge of earnings reports in the past two weeks, a third of companies in the
are still due to release results in the coming week, and markets will be watching closely.
So far, corporate results have pleased investors, with 62% of the companies in the S&P 500 beating estimates, 22% reporting results in line with expectations and only 16% missing projections, according to Thomson First Call.
Art Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co, said he expects stocks to get a lift this week with the help of gains in sectors such as consumer cyclicals and technology.
However, some analysts feel an evaluation period is due before the market starts to take off. "Investors would like to see further evidence that the corporate picture is clearing up -- at least some stabilization or even a moderate pickup in business," said Jim Awad, president and market analyst at Awad Asset Management.
Dow Jones Industrial Average
fell 0.4% last week, while the
rose 0.6%. The S&P 500 climbed almost 0.6%.
Although earnings will be the main focus this week, a slew of economic reports could potentially move the markets as well.
On Monday, investors will get the latest figures on personal spending. The Conference Board's consumer confidence index Tuesday could confirm last week's University of Michigan report on sentiment, which showed that spirits ticked higher following the end of war with Iraq.
Chief among economic data this week will be the ISM index, a survey of purchasing managers that indicates the strength of manufacturing activity. The April figures will be released Thursday. And on Friday, the market will get the April unemployment rate, which is expected to have inched higher, approaching the 6% level.