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Finance Week Ahead: Earnings Season Kicks Off

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What a difference a few days makes: On Tuesday the S&P 500 was a mere three points away from busting past its all-time intraday high, set in 2007. Now the index has closed its worst weekly performance so far this year, with a highly disappointing March jobs report putting a damper on investor sentiment on Friday. While Wall Street pared much of its early losses by market close (as Breakout’s Matt Nesto had predicted here), all three major indices still ended in the red for the week.

But now it’s on to next week, when corporate earnings will be in keen focus yet again as Alcoa gets things moving on Monday after the bell.

Obama will also unveil his budget blueprint for fiscal year 2014 – including possible proposed cuts to social security and Medicare, which has drawn some criticism from the left but might mean the budget isn’t DOA to the GOP.

We’ll also see data including retail sales, inflation numbers, consumer sentiment and the small business optimism index (for more on the small-biz universe, check out our topic page).

There are plenty of Fed speakers on the calendar as well, including Chief Bernanke; on Wednesday the minutes from the FOMC’s march meeting might give investors a clue into the sentiment surrounding its easy money policies.

And Facebook (FB), which actually saw its stock rise on Friday, will make its new ‘Home’ available to consumers? Will social-media junkies bite or will this venture go the way of the ChaCha?

Here’s a list of what to look out for in the coming week:

Monday, April 8

  • Earnings season has its recognized “kickoff” with Alcoa reporting after the bell
  • Treasury Secretary Jack Lew begins a two-day Europe visit; he’ll meet with folks including ECB President Mario Draghi (in Germany)
  • Secretary of State John Kerry visits Israel and the West Bank
  • Ben Bernanke gives a speech on what we’ve learned from the bank stress tests, at the 2013 Financial Markets Conference in Atlanta
  • Other Fed speaker: Sandra Pianalto
  • China CPI and PPI released
  • Obama will appear at an event at the University of Hartford, in Connecticut, to discuss gun control
  • March Madness comes to an end with the National Championship Game

Tuesday, April 9

  • Nominations hearing considers Dr. Ernest Moniz as new secretary of energy
  • Data: NFIB small business sentiment index, wholesale inventories
  • Fed speaker: Dennis Lockhart, who said this past week that he would not rule out a “tapering” of QE3 this summer

Wednesday, April 10

  • Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget is unveiled
  • FOMC Minutes at 2:00 p.m. ET
  • Data: Mortgage applications, oil inventories, Treasury budget
  • G8 foreign ministers will meet in the UK; first of a two-day meeting
  • IMF President Christine Lagarde will speak in New York; late last month her Paris home was raided by police in connection to her involvement with the 2007 Bernard Tapie scandal
  • Fed Speakers: Lockhart will speak again, Narayana Kocherlakota
  • Earnings: Constellation Brands, Chevron (interim report), Bed Bath & Beyond

Thursday, April 11

  • Several Congressional hearings will take place on the fiscal year 2014 budget, including from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Treasury Secretary Lew and DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano
  • Everyone forget basketball – the Masters of golf begins today
  • More Fed Speakers: Charles Plosser, James Bullard
  • Data: Weekly jobless claims, import/export prices, natural gas inventories, Fed balance sheet, money supply
  • Deutsche Bank holds its annual meeting
  • Earnings: Pier 1 Imports, Rite Aid

Friday, April 12

  • Secretary of State Kerry will arrive in South Korea from the G8 in the UK, one of three stops on an Asian tour, which also includes China and Japan. North/South Korea/U.S. relations have been a hot topic and market mover in recent weeks. On Friday North Korea said it could not guarantee the safety of its embassies and international organizations in the event of any kind of conflict
  • The much-hyped Facebook ‘Home’ becomes available. HTC will ship its pre-loaded version for $99. How will the public react? And will the stock ever hit its $38 IPO price again? Stay tuned.
  • Data: Wholesale inflation, retail sales, consumer sentiment, business inventories
  • Bernanke will speak again, this time at the Fed’s development conference in D.C.
  • Earnings: JPMorgan, Wells Fargo