US EQUITIES WEEK AHEAD: Retail Earnings, Housing Data

Date : 02/17/2012 @ 3:47PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : J.C. Penney Company Holding Company (JCP)
Quote : 3.9101  -0.0799 (-2.00%) @ 11:09AM

US EQUITIES WEEK AHEAD: Retail Earnings, Housing Data

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) is among several retailers expected to report their latest quarterly results next week, which is shortened by the Presidents Day holiday.

Technology heavyweights Dell Inc. (DELL) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) also are scheduled to report earnings next week.

Markets will examine reports on January's existing home sales and new home sales, due Wednesday and Friday, respectively, for more insight into the sector's sluggish recovery.

Bazaarvoice Inc. and Proto Labs Inc. are expected to debut next week.

   Quarterly Earnings Due From Retailers 

A deluge of major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Saks Inc. (SKS), Macy's Inc. (M), Gap Inc. (GPS), Kohl's Corp. (KSS) and J.C. Penney Co. (JCP), are scheduled to release their latest earnings results.

U.S. retailers delivered generally solid January sales results amid an appetite for marked-down merchandise and some confidence among consumers to spend a little extra. Earlier this month, Gap projected fourth-quarter earnings ahead of estimates as Banana Republic outperformed the other segments and January same-store sales declined less than expected, while Kohl's raised its view as it saw better-than-expected same-store sales last month. Meanwhile, J.C. Penney has slashed its fiscal fourth-quarter guidance as sales and traffic were softer than anticipated for the latest period.

Wal-Mart, Saks and Macy's are also expected to report bottom-line growth.

   Dell, Hewlett-Packard Expected To Post Weaker 4Q Profits 

Computer maker Dell is expected to see its fourth-quarter earnings drop slightly from a year earlier, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The company has been broadening its business scope in recent years to become more of a one-stop shop for customers also seeking servers, storage, networking and services. However, Dell has frequently reiterated it remains committed to the personal computer market, a contrast to its biggest rival Hewlett-Packard.

Last year, H-P flirted with the idea of shedding its PC business, the world's largest, before deciding in October to hold onto it, though the segment offers lower margins. The company saw a turbulent year in 2011, which included an $11.7 billion deal for British software provider Autonomy Corp. and the September firing of Chief Executive Meg Whitman's predecessor, Leo Apotheker. In November, H-P issued a first-quarter outlook that fell short of analyst estimates. Analysts expect the company's revenue to decline from the year-ago period.

Other major companies reporting next week include Kraft Foods Inc. (KFT), Home Depot Inc. (HD) and Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS).

   NYSE, Nasdaq Markets Closed Monday 

U.S. equity trading on NYSE Euronext's (NYX) New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) will be closed Monday in observance of Presidents Day.

Trading floors operated by CME Group Inc. (CME), which includes the Nymex and Chicago floors, also will be closed Monday. CME Globex will halt equity trading at 10:30 a.m. CST and is scheduled to resume trading at 5 p.m. CST. CME Globex halts trading for interest rate and foreign exchange products at noon CST and resumes at 5 p.m. CST.

   January Existing, New Home Sales Due 

Reports on home sales and prices will offer more information on the state of the ailing housing sector next week.

On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors will report on existing home sales for January. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires think resales of 4.65 million homes were sold last month, up slightly from the annual rate of 4.61 million in December.

Data on new U.S. home sales are scheduled to be released Friday. The Commerce Department's report is expected to show new home sales increased 2.6% to an annual rate of 315,000 in January.

Consumers have been reluctant to buy homes. The obstacles include worries about income prospects, inability to get financing and the lack of a sufficient down payment.

   Bazaarvoice, Proto Labs Expected To Price Next Week 

Yet another initial public offering tied to the social media space is readying to go public this coming week, but it isn't a name that is going to spark the kind of brand recognition of Yelp Inc. or Facebook Inc.

Bazaarvoice Inc., which bills itself as a maker of "social commerce" marketing software, aims to raise as much as $95 million on the Nasdaq under the symbol "BV." The company's product helps businesses collect and display consumer reviews on their websites, provides tools to analyze feedback and online postings, and helps distribute content such as ratings and reviews among retail and other brand sites.

The only other deal set to price this coming week is Proto Labs Inc., which is looking to raise as much as $65 million through a listing on the NYSE as "PRLB." The company manufactures custom parts for product prototypes or pilot runs of products in development. It uses proprietary software and automated manufacturing technology to cut down on expenses and turn around orders in as little as a day.

   U.S. To Sell $99 Billion Treasury Notes Next Week 

As expected, the U.S. Treasury plans to sell $35 billion of two-year notes on Tuesday, $35 billion of five-year notes Wednesday and $29 billion of seven-year notes on Thursday. Analysts expect the shorter-dated sales to go smoothly because of the Federal Reserve's stated intentions to keep rates low through at least late 2014.


Among the scheduled conferences next week are the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference on Monday through Friday in Boca Raton, Fla.; EnerCom Inc.'s The Oil & Services Conference Tuesday through Thursday in San Francisco; the Barclays Industrial Select Conference on Wednesday and Thursday in Miami; and the Credit Suisse Global Paper & Packaging Conference on Wednesday and Thursday in New York.

Also scheduled are the Green Power Offshore Wind Power USA conference Wednesday through Friday in Boston; the National Investment Banking Association Investment Conference Wednesday through Friday in New Orleans; and the Jefferies Global Clean Technology Conference on Wednesday and Thursday in New York.

-By Nathalie Tadena, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3287;

--Kathleen Madigan, Lynn Cowan, Cynthia Lin and other Dow Jones Newswires staff members contributed to this article.

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