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Preparing For A Post-Sandy Wall Street

Markets reopen for a heavy day of earnings and economic news


With Hurricane Sandy finally departing the Atlantic seaboard after leaving an estimated $10 billion to $20 billion in economic damage across the East Coast, many of us still aren’t out of the water yet.

But while first responders and public officials are working around the clock to protect people in the affected areas, Wall Street is making arrangements to reopen as usual Wednesday morning.

As Wednesday just so happens to be the last trading day of the month, it should be a busy day as institutional investors scramble to rebalance their portfolios for the month.

For those of you who can, now is a good time to prepare for this morning’s trading action, so I want to take a moment to run down the big earnings and economic events to look for today and beyond.

On Halloween, we’ll receive earnings data from several big household names:

  • Spirit Airlines (NASDAQ:SAVE) reports first thing in the morning. While SAVE is headed towards 19.3% sales growth, analysts also forecast a 10.3% dip in earnings.
  • Clorox (NYSE:CLX) also announces before market open. As I mentioned in a recent Stock of the Day feature, I’m not convinced that this earnings announcement will blow estimates out of the water.
  • Credit card giant Visa (NYSE:V) reports after the closing bell. Analysts expect 12.2%
    sales growth and 18.1% earnings growth.
  • Allstate  (NYSE:ALL) wraps things up after close with its third-quarter
    earnings announcement. While Allstate is headed towards single-digit sales
    growth, its bottom line is expected to surge 606% (compared with the -99% industry

Along with the weekly jobless claims, the September construction spending and the October consumer confidence reports, Thursday will bring quarterly results from these consumer and retail companies:

  • Body Central (NASDAQ:BODY) reports earnings before Thursday’s open.
    BODY is headed towards just 3% sales growth and an 84% plunge in profits
  • Kellogg  (NYSE:K) announces earnings before open. Kellogg is due to report
    double-digit sales growth but flat earnings.
  • Bebe Stores (NASDAQ:BEBE) is up to announce earnings sometime during the
    day. This should be a particularly weak report–analysts forecast a 9% drop in
    sales and a 200% plunge in profits.
  • High end grocer Harris Teeter (NASDAQ:HTSI) finishes out the day. This
    company’s sales are expected to growth 7% and its earnings by 17%–beneath the
    20% industry average.

Then Friday will be relatively quiet on the earnings front, but it’s the day that the Labor Department releases the unemployment report for October. I consider this to be the most important report for the week.

This Labor Department announcement consists of two separate reports. First, about 60,000 households are surveyed to determine the unemployment rate. Currently, economists expect a 7.9% unemployment rate, slightly higher than September’s 7.8% rate.

Then, approximately 375,000 businesses are surveyed to determine the number of nonfarm payrolls, average workweek and average hourly earnings figure. As it stands, the consensus calls for 135,000 nonfarm payrolls (over 114,000 last month), a 0.2% increase in hourly earnings, and for the average workweek to remain unchanged at 34.5 hours.

In the meantime, I’ll check in first thing Thursday with a report on trading activity and anything else you may need to act on once the stock market reopens.

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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