Instead of a widely expected earnings decline, the third-quarter season could mark a turning point. Thomson Reuters now anticipates 1.1% growth in S&P 500 companies over the quarter, reversing previous expectations of a decline. If expectations pan out, S&P 500 companies would see blended growth for the first time since the second quarter of last year. Wall Street has endured the longest earnings recession since 2009.
So far, 23% of S&P 500 companies have reported on their recent quarters with nearly four-fifths exceeding analysts' estimates. The beat rate is above the historical average of 63%. Nearly two-thirds of S&P 500 companies have topped sales estimates.
In tech and telecoms, Sohu.com (SOHU) will report on Monday; Apple, Pandora (P) , Sprint (S) and AT&T (T) on Tuesday; GrubHub (GRUB) , Groupon (GRPN) , Garmin (GRMN) , NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) , Tesla (TSLA) , Texas Instruments (TXN) , and Western Digital (WDC) on Wednesday; Alphabet, Amazon (AMZN) , Expedia (EXPE) , Baidu (BIDU) , LinkedIn (LNKD) and Twitter (TWTR) on Thursday; and Xerox (XRX) on Friday.
Industrials and energy reports will filter in including from 3M (MMM) , Caterpillar (CAT) , DuPont (DD) and Lockheed Martin (LMT) on Tuesday; Boeing (BA) and Hess (HES) on Wednesday; ConocoPhillips (COP) and Dow Chemical (DOW) on Thursday; and Chevron (CVX) , Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Phillips 66 (PSX) on Friday.
In consumer and health stocks, VF Corp (VFC) , Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and Visa (V) on Monday; Panera Bread (PNRA) , General Motors (GM) , JetBlue (JBLU) , Eli Lilly (LLY) , Merck (MRK) , Procter & Gamble (PG) and Under Armour (UA) on Tuesday; Biogen (BIIB) , Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) , Coca-Cola (KO) and Mondelez (MDLZ) on Wednesday; Amgen (AMGN) , Bristol-Myers (BMY) , Celgene (CELG) , Colgate-Palmolive (CL) , Ford (F) and Pinnacle Foods (PF) on Thursday; and AbbVie (ABBV) , Anheuser-Busch (BUD) , Bloomin Brands (BLMN) , Mastercard (MA) and Hershey (HSY) on Friday.
Investors will get a reading on the strength of the U.S. economy with an advance estimate of third-quarter GDP on Friday. Analysts anticipate the U.S. economy to have grown at a 2.5% pace over the third quarter, a significant pickup from 1.1% growth over the first half of the year. Strength in consumer spending and a recovery in business investment are expected to have boosted U.S. growth.
The economic calendar in the coming week also includes consumer confidence for October and the Case-Shiller 20-City Home Price Index for August on Tuesday; international trade in goods and new home sales for September on Wednesday; and durable goods orders and pending home sales for September on Thursday.
The Federal Reserve remains on watch in the coming week with a number of central bank officials set to make remarks, including New York Fed President William Dudley and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard. Fed commentary in recent weeks has taken on even more significance as investors pick apart comments for clues as to whether the central bank is ready to make a move come December.
"We anticipate the Fed will increase their target rate in December," Bill Merz, investment strategist at U.S. Bank's Private Client Group in Minneapolis, told TheStreet. "They have taken every opportunity in recent weeks to talk up market expectations, and with the job market along with price and wage data continuing to trudge forward, the Fed has the data they need to justify a near term rate hike. It would take meaningful deterioration in these figures to adjust our outlook for the Fed."
The chances of a rate hike in December increased after the Fed opted to leave rates unchanged at the September meeting, though mentioned that the case for a hike had strengthened. The chances of a December rate hike sits at 63%, according to CME Group fed funds futures.