Last week was a wild one for stocks, and the coming week promises more of the same, as war fears continue to hang over the market.
Markets posted slim gains last week after some dramatic 100-point intraday swings, with the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
ending the week up 109 points, or 1.4%, at 8018, and the
gaining 39 points, or almost 3%, to 1349. The
finished the week up 14 points, or 1.5%, at 848.
As with last week, the market will continue to take its cues from the day's headlines, and that could make for rocky trading, especially if volume stays low.
Over the last four sessions, the average daily trading volume on the
New York Stock Exchange
was just 1.1 billion shares, below January's daily average near 1.5 billion. Likewise, the Nasdaq averaged just 1.25 billion shares a day, down from the summer, when the Nasdaq averaged more than 2 billion shares a day.
Many investors are expected to remain on the sidelines, at least until the war situation clears up.
"There aren't many investors who are going to dump money in the market right now," said Donald Straszheim, president of Straszheim Global Advisors and former Merrill Lynch chief economist. "You need to have a high tolerance for risk -- a very high tolerance for risk. And I don't know any investors who feel this pressure to put their money to work."
Investors will get a look at consumer confidence, gross domestic product and employment data next week.
"Consumer confidence is the most important economic release next week, because the consumer sector has been supporting the economy," said Straszheim. "Also the employment data have been pretty much determining consumer confidence, and that number has been weak for quite a while. There's no reason to think confidence will go up."
Earnings season is winding down, but there won't be any shortage of news to watch. More than 400 companies are expected to release earnings next week, and while the majority of the names are smaller and shouldn't move the market, there are still some big guns that have yet to fire. On Tuesday,
releases earnings, one day after rival
Also on Tuesday,
Federated Department Stores
and a pair of highflying housing names,
, release earnings.
On Thursday, retailers
release results, as does energy name
Ultimately, Straszheim says, investors should invest in a seat belt, as markets continue to take their cues from world news instead of economic data or business conditions. "Anything that develops on the war front over the next few weeks is going to supersede any economic data," he said.