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The strategists at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) this month didn't mince words: 2016 will be a "cataclysmic year," as China's economic slowdown, plunging energy prices, and various currency crises all converge to crush global markets. Their stark advice: "Sell everything."

To be sure, it's been an unhappy new year for investors. But how concerned should you be about a repeat of 2008? Last week, we actually saw signs that corporate earnings and stocks have some mojo left.

The S&P 500 soared 2.5% on Friday, driven by a rise in oil prices for the fourth day in a row and solid earnings results from companies such as Microsoft (MSFT) , MasterCard (MA) , and Visa (V) .

The coming week will provide important clues as to the rate of U.S. economic growth we can expect in 2016. On the docket are the operating results of stocks that are bellwethers in their respective sectors, as well as key economic, consumer and business data.

Speaking of investment clues, investors have learned that it typically pays to follow the buying-and-selling choices of stock-picking guru Warren Buffett, so this week's operating reports warrant particular scrutiny. A raft of Buffett-owned companies report earnings this week, including Moody's (MCO) , Mondelez International (MDLZ) , Suncor Energy (SU) , UPS (UPS) , and USG (USG) .

Meanwhile, whatever challenges investors face in the coming year, it appears that the anticipated cataclysm is on hold -- for now. The latest economic data portend a slowdown, not a disaster.

The U.S. Commerce Dept. on Friday released data that confirmed the economic recovery is on track, albeit in unspectacular fashion. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at an annual rate of only 0.7% in the fourth quarter of 2015, tepid growth brought on by slowing sales of consumer durable goods and a weakening trade balance stemming from a robust U.S. dollar.

However, consumer spending, job growth and the services sector held up well in the quarter, helping propel full-year 2015 GDP growth to 2.4%, equal to last year's growth and higher than the 1.5% increase recorded for 2013.

Can this momentum continue? Let's take a closer look at the key events of the week ahead.

Earnings Reports:

Monday, February 1:Aetna (AET) , Alphabet (GOOG) , Anadarko Petroleum (APC) , Banco Santander (BSAC)  and Mattel (MAT) .

Tuesday:Baxter (BAX) , BE Aerospace (BEAV) , CIT Group (CIT) , Dow Chemical (DOW) , Exxon Mobil (XOM) , Gilead Sciences (GILD) , Pfizer (PFE) , (UPS)  and Yahoo! (YHOO) .

Wednesday:ABB (ABB) , Avery Dennison (AVY) , Comcast (CMCSA) , General Motors (GM) , Marathon Petroleum (MPC) , Merck (MRK) , Mondelez International, Suncor Energy and Yum! Brands (YUM) .

Thursday:ConocoPhillips (COP) , Credit Suisse (CS) , Dominion (D) , Dunkin Brands (DNKN) , FleetCor (FLT) , Kelly Services (KELYA) , News Corp. NWSA, Philip Morris International (PM)  and Royal Dutch Shell (RYDAF) .

Friday: Moody's, Tyson Foods (TSN) , USG, Weyerhauser (WY)  and WisdomTree (WETF) .

Economic Calendar:


Gallup US Consumer Spending Measure
PMI Manufacturing Index
ISM Mfg Index
Construction Spending


Motor Vehicle Sales


MBA Mortgage Applications
ADP Employment Report
PMI Services Index
ISM Non-Mfg Index
EIA Petroleum Status Report


Jobless Claims
EIA Natural Gas Report


Employment Situation
Baker-Hughes Rig Count
Consumer Credit
International Trade

What is Warren Buffett buying and selling?As we explain above, several Warren Buffett-owned stocks report operating results this week. Click here to learn more about the stocks that Buffett is now buying and selling. Buy these fast-growing stocks and watch your portfolio beat the market year after year, just like the Oracle of Omaha himself. For clues into the strategy of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) for 2016 and beyond, download your free report now.

John Persinos is editorial manager and investment analyst at Investing Daily. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.