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Top 5 Things to Watch in Markets in the Week Ahead - Fed Rate Hike, Earnings Flood

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By Daniel Shvartsman

Investing.com - Central Banks and earnings will continue to dominate the week ahead. After the European Central Bank announced an unexpectedly hawkish 50 basis point rate hike and markets rose in response to not-as-bad-as-feared earnings throughout the week, big earnings misses from Snap (NYSE:SNAP) as well as the in-limbo Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and hard-disk drive maker Seagate (NASDAQ:STX) took the air out of the week’s rally, with leading indices and risk assets finishing the week on a down note.

This week the Federal Reserve takes center stage with expectations for another big hike coming, while the biggest companies in the world and much of the S&P 500 as a whole share their reports. Economic data and continued developments out of Ukraine will also mark the week ahead.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Federal Reserve Meeting

Inflation reports have remained elevated, and that’s led just about all market prognosticators to expect at least a 75 basis points hike from the Federal Reserve. A 100 basis points hike was briefly on the table, and Fed Funds future prices suggest a ~20% chance of that still happening, but reports suggest that the Fed won’t go quite that far.

The FOMC statement and Fed Chair Powell’s press conference will be in some ways more needle moving for the market, as the market tries to size the possibility of a recession and how committed the Fed will be to taming inflation if that recession shows up. With talk already of rate cuts coming next year, the phrase ‘threading the needle’ is sure to come up a few times this week.

2. Big Tech Earnings

The biggest companies in the world report earnings this week, and many of them are from the recently beaten down technology sector.

The fun starts Tuesday, with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) reporting after the bell. Alphabet is especially on watch after the initial tremors from the digital advertising space that Snap and Twitter set off, and given the company does not provide guidance. Whether their 25% drop year to date means bad news is priced in remains to be seen.

Facebook (NASDAQ:META) parent Meta Platforms reports on Wednesday after market hours and has been upfront about its big investment plans for the year and the challenges it faces from Tik Tok and pandemic-related comparisons, which has seen the stock drop 50% year to date as a result. Whether they are seeing any changes and whether they are still committed to their metaverse investments will be big factors in this report.

Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) reports on Thursday after hours and, like Facebook, has also shared its bit of bad news. While GAAP net income may be skewed by Amazon’s stake in Rivian Automotive Inc (NASDAQ:RIVN), revenue momentum and how the retailing and cloud giant is handling cost inflation will both be key items. Any read-through on how the recent Prime Day sets the company up for Q3 and the back half of the year will also be important for investors.

Last but the opposite of least, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) also reports on Thursday after hours. The champ in enterprise value among its mega-cap tech peers, Apple has also outperformed the group in 2022, down only 13.2% year to date, even ahead of the S&P 500. As pandemic-exiting related headwinds pick up and inflation makes upgrading to the latest iPhone a non-trivial task, can Apple’s relative strength persist?

3. S&P 500 Earnings

Many other industry giants are also on tap for earnings this week. Among the headliners:

Monday after hours – NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI), Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE:WHR), F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) Tuesday pre-market - Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO), McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD), United Parcel Service (NYSE:UPS), Raytheon (NYSE:RTN), General Electric (NYSE:GE), General Motors (NYSE:GM) Tuesday after hours – Visa (NYSE:V), Chipotle (NYSE:CMG), Stryker (NYSE:SYK), Mondelez (NASDAQ:MDLZ), Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) Wednesday pre-market – T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:TMUS), Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), Boeing (NYSE:BA), ADP (NASDAQ:ADP), Humana (NYSE:HUM) Wednesday after hours – Ford (NYSE:F), Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), ServiceNow (NYSE:NOW), Equinix (NASDAQ:EQIX), O’Reilly Automotive Inc (NASDAQ:ORLY) Thursday pre-market – Mastercard (NYSE:MA), Honeywell (NASDAQ:HON), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Merck & Co (NYSE:MRK), Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Altria (NYSE:MO) Thursday after hours – Intel (NASDAQ:INTC), Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE:EW), KLA-Tencor (NASDAQ:KLAC), DexCom Inc (NASDAQ:DXCM) Friday pre-market – Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), AbbVie (NYSE:ABBV), AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN), Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR)

The recession and inflation talk that the Fed faced will also pose risks to corporate earnings, and the questions that will be asked again and again are whether companies are able to maintain visibility and growth amidst all of this, or whether now is the time to lower expectations given overall investor skepticism.

Check out the full earnings calendar to track the stocks you care about during the week.

4. GDP and CPI numbers

A bevy of CPI and GDP numbers comes out towards the end of the week. While much of this will be backwards looking, it may still give a hint of what’s to come for the economy and central bank behavior.

U.S. GDP is expected to be positive, which would avert the technical definition of a recession, namely two consecutive quarters of negative real GDP growth. U.S. Core PCE prices are expected to jump to a growth of 0.5% month over month, from 0.3% last month.

Eurozone CPI is expected to show an 8.7% flash reading for July, while CPI ex Energy and Food is expected to be 4.7%. GDP growth is expected at .6% quarter over quarter.

Amidst a summer of hot demand and hot prices, central banks and investors in the U.S., Europe, and globally will be watching to see whether economies can tackle the challenges of inflation without overly crimping the economy, a tricky balance to manage.

Check out our full economic calendar for country-level CPI reports as well as any other key economic data releases.

5. Ukraine/Russia developments

Russia’s war with Ukraine continues despite the green shoot of an agreement last week to allow Ukraine to ship grain out of its Odesa port, as Russian missiles struck the port on Saturday. Russia denies involvement in the strikes, and Ukraine continues to prepare to ship grain, which is viewed as a potential huge relief to global food shortages.

The impact on global commodity markets, be they grain or oil, is a big focus for investors vis-à-vis Ukraine and Russia, but there were also hopes that the Turkish-negotiated deal over grain shipments might be a first step towards broader agreements. Implementation of this deal, as well as further developments in the war this week as it enters its 7th month, will help answer whether skepticism should continue to reign.

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