Market Preview:Earnings from TJX, Kohl’s and Target, Mixed with Housing Numbers Mid-week

With the S&P 500 trading near record highs set at the beginning of the year, the market rallied further on Monday. Much of the action was based on a glimmer of hope in the U.S. / China trade war. Low-level officials began negotiations on what investors hope will be the genesis of a solution to tariff escalations on both sides.  Shares of Tesla battled back into positive territory at over $308 after Mr. Musk’s beleaguered company briefly dropped below $290 early in the session. Doubts are rising that the electric car company can be taken private, and a consensus is starting to build that the outspoken CEO should either step down or take a leave of absence to give the stock time to settle.

After Estee Lauder’s (EL) strong report Monday morning, investors will be looking for more strong numbers as the retail earnings parade continues this week. Tuesday analysts will parse earnings from both TJX Companies (TJX) and Kohl’s Corporation (KSS). Kohl’s grew same-store sales 3.6% last quarter but gave guidance for a flat Q2. Analysts will be looking for the clothing and home goods retailer to control inventory to drive earnings growth. With strong reported U.S. retail sales in clothing and clothing accessories, both TJX and Kohl’s could pleasantly surprise investors with earnings beats this quarter.

Tuesday investors will get to compare their favorite retailer’s earnings with the Redbook retail sales numbers. The report tracks comparable store sales at chain stores, discounters and department stores. Year-over-year retail sales are expected to rise 4.5%. On Wednesday analysts will take a short break from retail sales and focus on housing data. Wednesday morning existing home sales for July are expected to be a slight improvement over the June release. New mortgage application numbers will also be released. Analysts are trying to get a handle on how housing will impact the economy in the second half of the year, and these numbers may provide some direction. Also released on Wednesday afternoon will be the minutes from the last FOMC meeting. Investors do not expect any surprises as the Fed has been telegraphing its moves in a straightforward manner this year.

Wednesday earnings include numbers from Lowe’s (LOW) and Target (TGT). Investors will be focused on comparable store sales at Lowe’s after Home Depot (HD) blew this number out of the water earlier this earnings season. Both stores indicated that buyers were purchasing spring items later than usual this year, leading to more sales in Q2 than usual. Analysts will be expecting good numbers from new CEO Marvin Ellison. The market is also expecting positive news from Target which is trading near multi-year highs. Analysts will be looking to see if in-store traffic continued to accelerate at the same torrid pace as last quarter, or if this number is flattening. Anything less than a blowout quarter will be disappointing.

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