Remarks from Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, will be in focus Wednesday, as well as quarterly earnings reports from several retailers, including
At 9:30 a.m. EDT, the head of the Treasury is set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee, where he will offer his comments on oversight of the TARP. When he appeared before a Congressional Oversight Panel late last month, Geithner said the government's $700 billion bailout fund has at least $109.6 billion in resources left, and at the time he anticipated that $25 billion will be paid back by borrowers.
Since that time, the government released the results of its stress tests for 19 major U.S. financial institutions, and several banks have sold assets and conducted secondary offerings in an effort to pay the government back. On Tuesday, it was reported that
have sought approval to pay back a combined $45 million in borrowed money.
Ahead of Wednesday's opening bell, Target will release first-quarter earnings results. On average, the retailer is expected to notch a profit of 59 cents a share, which is about 20% below year-ago results, on revenue of $14.8 billion, according to a poll of analysts by Thomson Reuters.
When Target reported April same-store sales earlier this month, which rose 0.3%, the retailer upped its earnings forecast for the first quarter, saying that earnings will be "well above" the average Thomson Reuters estimate at the time of 52 cents a share.
Of course, anything positive in Target's earnings report may be quickly forgotten amid its ongoing proxy battle with Bill Ackman and Pershing Square. On Tuesday, Target issued an open letter to its shareholders, arguing that any attempt to try to separate the Target board of directors from the continuing success of the company "is simply not credible." The annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for May 28.
Aside from Target, several other retailers will be out with results Wednesday before the start of trading.
should record a profit of 44 cents a share on revenue of $2.31 billion, while
is expected to post a loss of 13 cents a share on sales of $457.3 million, and
( TWB) should see a loss of 18 cents a share on $222.2 million.
After the closing bell,
( GYMB), and
will also be out with earnings reports.
There are several other non-retail earnings scheduled for Wednesday.
is expected to record a profit of $1.07 a share on revenue of $6.6 billion, and
should post earnings of 21 cents a share on sales of $205 million. After Wednesday's close,
is expected to say it earned $1.61 a share in the last quarter on revenue of $1.42 billion.
Of course, traders will still be digesting earnings news from
, which should report a profit of 86 cents a share on revenue of $27.4 billion Tuesday.
On Wednesday's economic docket, the
will release the minutes from its most recent meeting. The Federal Open Market Committee, the policymaking arm of the central bank, said on April 29 that information received leading up to the meeting indicated the economy has continued to contract, but at a somewhat slower pace.
"Although the economic outlook has improved modestly since the March meeting, partly reflecting some easing of financial market conditions, economic activity is likely to remain weak for a time," the Fed's statement read. "Nonetheless, the Committee continues to anticipate that policy actions to stabilize financial markets and institutions, fiscal and monetary stimulus, and market forces will contribute to a gradual resumption of sustainable economic growth in a context of price stability."
Oil prices, which have slowly crept higher to the $60-a-barrel level, will be closely watched after the release of the Energy Department's weekly inventory report. Last week's report showed a decline in inventory levels for crude and gasoline.