Skip to main content



) -- Housing data and retail earnings will be in focus during Friday's session, while investors will also eye options expiration as the week draws to a close.

Tomorrow is the third Friday of the month, marking the expiration of options contracts. Typically, this leads to increased volatility, which often means violent swings in the equity market.

Looking specifically at stock names,



will be one of only a handful of companies reporting earnings Friday. Analysts are looking for a profit of 2 cents a share and for sales to tumble 20.3% from the year-ago quarter to $472.2 million.

Some retail analysts have high expectations for AnnTaylor. On Wednesday, UBS analyst Roxanne Meyer upgraded the stock to buy, noting that AnnTaylor's Loft division is a catalyst for the recovery of the company.

Shares of AnnTaylor have been very strong this year despite the economic recession. The stock is up nearly 120% in 2009, although it is still lower by 47% over the last 12 months.

Investors will likely still be sifting through earnings reports from several other retailers set to post results after Thursday's closing bell, including


(GPS) - Get Gap, Inc. Report


Foot Locker

(FL) - Get Foot Locker, Inc. Report

TheStreet Recommends


Pacific Sunwear


, among others.

Also on Friday's earnings slate,

J.M. Smucker

(SJM) - Get J.M. Smucker Company Report

is expected to report earnings of 80 cents a share on revenue of $1.04 billion, according to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. Smucker shares are higher by almost 20% in 2009, although they are down 7% over the last 12 months.

Turning to the economic docket, the lone report scheduled for release Friday will focus on existing home sales data for July. Economists polled by


say existing home sales should climb to 5 million from 4.89 million in June.


Federal Reserve

Chairman Ben Bernanke will offer his reflections on the last year of the economic crisis during an economic symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, at 10 a.m. EDT.

-- Written by Robert Holmes in New York