Investors might welcome a break after a turbulent spell that culminated in Thursday's market-melting earnings warning from
. Unfortunately, no such reprieve is in the offing, as the coming week promises once more to be chock-full of big earnings and economic reports.
"Last week ended badly after the IBM surprise stepped in front of good earnings news from
," says Paul Mendelsohn, strategist at Windham Financial. "Next week will once again be dominated by earnings, but there will be some tension diverted to the releases of the PPI and CPI, which will let us know whether or not we are heading into a period of stagflation."
IBM stunned the market last Thursday by unveiling a nickel-a-share earnings shortfall. The stock tumbled 7.5% Friday after a flurry of downgrades from sell-side analysts.
Paul Cherney, a strategist at S&P, worries that companies reporting in coming days could offer further bad news on corporate tech spending.
"IBM's admission that they can't close deals is evidence that corporate spending might become a bigger problem than expected," says Cherney.
Big tech spending tells in the next week could come from
, due to post numbers late Monday, and
, both of which report after the bell Tuesday. Juniper rivals
both warned this past week, stoking fears that communications-gear companies may be encountering some of the same problems as IBM and the software pushers.
Also posting earnings Monday and Tuesday will be industrial giant
, pharma heavyweights
Johnson & Johnson
and stun-gun maker
Wednesday will bring releases from
J.P. Morgan Chase
also releases quarterly results on Wednesday. Analysts expect the company to earn 18 cents a share, up from 16 cents last year, on $1.03 billion in revenue.
Thursday is stuffed with earnings reports from
Of course, earnings are far from the only story we'll be watching in the next week. What corporations are paying for their goods -- and whether prices are rising too quickly for them to fully pass their costs onto consumers -- will come into focus on Tuesday with the release of the March producer price index.
The consensus estimate for the PPI is for an increase of 0.6%, but Rich Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research, projects a 1.1% rise when the number is released next week.
"Commodity prices have receded recently, but during March the CRB index was hitting new highs," says Yamarone. "If we get a blowout PPI number, then we could possibly see the market capitulate."
In terms of economic data, the PPI will be followed by the consumer price index on Wednesday, along with the
While Yamarone's tone may be cautionary, Al Goldman, chief market strategist at A.G. Edwards, has a cheerier view of last week's carnage in stocks. Goldman says the gloom and doom over the market has led to oversold conditions.
"Forget the economics, we are short-term oversold and should get a bounce next week," says Goldman. "The level of gloom has reached proportions where it's time to buy. People are acting like the economy is going into the tank, and it's not."