Market Overview

The Week Ahead: Retail Sales, Inflation Data in Focus

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing at yet another new record high on Friday, investors will look ahead to the second full week of March to see if the gains can continue. The week will be light on corporate earnings, but a fair amount of economic reports should keep things interesting.

Earnings

Only a handful of major companies will release earnings during the week, but investors should pay attention to earnings from The Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: MW), Costco (NASDAQ: COST) and Majesco (NASDAQ: COOL).

Warehouse retailer Costco is set to report earnings Tuesday. Analysts currently expect the company to post earnings per share of $1.06 on revenue of $25.13 billion.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley like Costco, even with shares hovering around 52-week highs, and have an Overweight rating on the stock.

“While we see the risk-reward as balanced for the quarter, we see Costco poised to deliver consistent ~16% earnings growth this year,” Morgan Stanley notes.

Also reporting on Tuesday will be video game maker Majesco Entertainment. Trading near $0.50 per share, it quite literally has become a penny stock, and could soon run into delisting issues if shares do not trade back above $1.

Analysts expect the company to post a loss per share of $0.03 on revenue of $28.7 million.

Wedbush is conflicted on the name, noting, “We recommend that investors take a wait-and-see approach...we continue to believe that the company is one hit game away from significant appreciation beyond its current share price, [but] it is not clear that such a game is included in its pipeline.”

Wedbush has a Neutral rating on the stock and a $1 price target.

Men's Wearhouse will release earnings Wednesday. Analysts currently expect the retailer to post a loss per share of $0.05 on revenue of $610 million.

John Kernan at Cowen Group is skeptical. Earlier in February, he downgraded Men's Wearhouse to Neutral on concerns the company could issue weak guidance.

“We are concerned that flat to negative same-store sales may have continued into 2013, and that initial guidance may disappoint given a slower same-store sale environment across retail,” Kernan notes.

Economic reports

While earnings releases may be light, there will be a fair number of economic reports next week. Tuesday will bring key European data, while Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will have significant U.S. economic releases.

Germany's CPI will be released early Tuesday. Economists currently expect the index (which measures inflation) to rise 1.5% on a year-over-year basis. Later, investors will get reports on the state of manufacturing in the United Kingdom: industrial production, manufacturing production, and trade balance will be released early Tuesday.

Then, on Wednesday, the release of the retail sales report should shed some light on the economic health of the U.S. consumer. Also on Wednesday, New Zealand's central bank will make a decision on interest rates (economists expect them to remain unchanged) and Australia will report its unemployment rate.

The U.S. producer price index will be released in the U.S. Thursday, and is believed to be a leading indicator of inflation. Economists expect core PPI to come in at 1.7% on a year-over-year basis.

The U.S. CPI will be released Friday. Core CPI, which measures the change in the price of goods excluding food and energy, is expected to rise 2% on a year-over-year basis. The Federal Reserve uses core CPI as a key factor in their interest rate decisions. Also on Friday, The University of Michigan's consumer sentiment reading will give investors a sense of consumer confidence.

Weekly calendar

Monday

  • Swiss retail sales, India's interest rate decision, Norwegian CPI

Tuesday

  • Earnings from: Costco, Majesco Entertainment
  • Indian industrial production, German CPI, U.K. industrial production, U.K. manufacturing production, U.K. trade balance, Mexican industrial production, South Korean unemployment rate, Australian home loans

Wednesday

  • Earnings from: Men's Wearhouse, Express (NYSE: EXPR)
  • U.S. retail sales, New Zealand interest rate decision, Australian unemployment rate, Japanese industrial production

Thursday

  • Eurozone unemployment change, U.S. PPI, Brazilian retail sales

Friday

  • Eurozone CPI, U.S. CPI, U.S. industrial production, U.S. University of Michigan consumer sentiment

Posted-In: Analyst Color Earnings News Previews Global Econ #s Economics Markets Best of Benzinga

 

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