Market Preview: Markets Start Off 2019 Positive Despite Volatility


Markets finished flat Friday to cap a good week on Wall Street. The S&P 500 is now up 3.49% on the year, with the Nasdaq jumping just over 5% to ring in 2019. The mini rally has restored some of the heavy losses suffered at the end of 2018. Earnings warnings have not been as dire as many had feared heading into a new earnings season next week, which has helped to rally markets off the recent bottom. But, U.S,/China trade talks, seemingly moving in the right direction, remain fragile. And, the continuing partial government shutdown will start showing up in economic numbers very soon. While unnerving for the employees involved, some market commentators are pointing to the positive returns markets have seen when gridlock has ruled in Washington, and lawmakers have been handcuffed when it comes to policies that impact stocks. The plethora of earnings next week will keep investors busy trying to pick the winners and losers of 2019.  

Monday, Citigroup (C) kicks off a busy week of earnings when the company, along with Shaw Communications (SJR), reports before the market open. Citi is the first of several big banks to report this week, and analysts are projecting $1.61 a share for the New York based bank. After a 30% decline in 2018, investors are looking for growth plans than include more than stock buybacks and tax breaks. Citi may set the tone for the other major banks, as JP Morgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) both report Tuesday.

Also reporting Tuesday are UnitedHealth Group (UNH) and Delta Airlines (DAL). Delta, already damaged in the December market selloff, fell sharply last week after downward revenue and sales revisions were released by the company. Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) report earnings pre-market open Wednesday. They’ll be joined by CSX Corp. (CSX) and Alcoa (AA) after the close. Thursday, the financial parade continues as American Express (AXP), Morgan Stanley (MS) and BB&T Corporation (BBT) all report earnings. Also reporting Thursday is Netflix (NFLX). The stock has rallied strongly in 2019 after suffering big losses at the end of last year. Finally, Schlumberger (SLB) and State Street (STT) will close out the week’s earnings when they report on Friday.  

Due to the partial government shutdown, no economic data is scheduled for release Monday. But Tuesday, investors should see the release of PPI data, as well as the Empire State Manufacturing Survey. PPI is expected to rise .1% month-over-month and 2.5% year-over-year. Wednesday analysts will examine Redbook retail sales data as well as government retail sales numbers released by the Bureau of the Census. Redbook data put sales at up 8.9% last week. Also released Wednesday are mortgage applications, business inventories, and the housing market index.

Thursday morning, housing starts, jobless claims and the Philly Fed Business Outlook Survey will all be on investor’s minds. Jobless claims came in at 216K last week, in line with estimates. While some numbers, such as recent manufacturing data, point to a weakening U.S. economy, jobs numbers have held steady to this point. The Fed balance sheet, which it is using to continue quantitative tightening, even as interest rate fears subside, will be released Thursday afternoon. Friday, industrial production, consumer sentiment, and the Baker-Hughes rig count numbers will all be released to close out the week.

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