What to know this week

After stocks endured a second straight week of selling last week, investors will be looking to a slate of fresh economic and earnings data as a catalyst for a potential reprieve.

The US stock and bond markets will be closed Monday in observance of the Presidents Day holiday, so new data releases will be consolidated to the later part of the week. And updates on tensions in Russia and Ukraine will also remain in focus throughout the week after stocks sank to their lowest levels in a month on Friday, amid concerns about the escalating geopolitical conflict.

While the emerging threat of military conflict has overshadowed many other worries in the markets, inflation has still remained a central issue for investors. Inflation has implications both in informing the speed at which the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy, and the extent to which consumers pull back on spending and slow overall economic activity in response to rising prices.

“I really think most of the Russia-Ukraine volatility occurred in the energy space, particularly with oil. I think the rest of the volatility in the broader market has to do with the Fed tightening conversation,” Frances Stacy, Optimal Capital director of strategy , told Yahoo Finance Live on Friday. “We’re looking at this sort of aggressive tightening against this backdrop of inflation, and I think that’s what’s causing the volatility.”

On Friday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis will release its monthly personal consumption expenditures (PCE) deflator, offering a fresh print on the extent of price increases across the recovering economy.

Consensus economists expect the PCE to post a rise of another 0.6% in January, according to Bloomberg data, accelerating from December’s 0.4% increase. This would represent a 14th consecutive monthly increase, and bring the index up by 6.0% on a year-over-year basis. This, in turn, would mark the fastest increase since 1982, and also accelerate from December’s 5.8% annual rise.

A shopper bags fruit inside a supermarket in Chevy Chase, Maryland on February 17, 2022. - US retail sales boomed in January as shops more than regained ground lost in an unexpected December slump, despite high inflation, according to government data released February 16. Retail sales rose 3.8 percent last month, the Commerce Department said, double what was expected and a dramatic reversal of the 2.5 percent decline in December, which was worse than originally reported.  (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images)

A shopper bags fruit inside a supermarket in Chevy Chase, Maryland on February 17, 2022. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP via Getty Images)

The core PCE index – the Fed’s preferred gauge of underlying inflation stripping out volatile food and energy prices – likely also ramped up compared to December’s index. Consensus economists are looking for a 5.2% increase in core PCE in January, compared to December’s 4.9% rise.

Expectations for the latest inflation print suggest the economy has still not yet seen the peak in price increases. And increasingly, central bank officials have come around to the notion that inflation has remained stickier than previously expected, especially as supply chain issues and virus-related disruptions persist.

“Since the December meeting, I would say that the inflation situation is about the same but probably slightly worse,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in a January press conference. “I’d be inclined to raise my own estimate of 2022 core PCE inflation … by a few tenths today.”

And the latest print on PCE will likely reaffirm readings from other closely watched inflation prints. The January Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped by 7.5% year-over-year to represent the largest increase since 1982, accelerating markedly from the 7.0% increase from December. And on the producer side, wholesale prices jumped 9.7% year-on-year in January, ticking down only slightly from December’s record increase of 9.8%.

Consumer confidence

Despite the mounting inflationary pressures, however, consumers have largely continued to spend. Retail sales rose by a better-than-expected 3.8% in January, marking the biggest jump since March 2021 and exceeding estimates.

And this steady consumption has come even as consumers increasingly cited inflation as a key concern for their own personal finances. Average hourly wages have also climbed in recent months, but have still not kept pace with inflation.

“The resilience of spending stands in stark contrast to the slump in consumer confidence, with households upping their purchases of big ticket items while simultaneously reporting that now is a particularly bad time to make those purchases,” Paul Ashworth, chief North American economist for Capital Economics, wrote in a note. “The surge in inflation is the root cause of consumer anxiety. Sentiment should improve as inflation falls back later this year, but the current weakness is a reminder that real consumption growth will be muted this year.”

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index due for release on Tuesday will help provide a timely snapshot of consumers’ thinking following the latest spike in prices at the beginning of the year. Consensus economists are looking for the index to fall to 110.0 for February, which would mark the lowest level since September 2021, when the Delta variant had weighed on consumers’ outlooks. The consumer confidence index had been at 113.8 in January.

Earnings season rolls on

Investors will also receive a number of new earnings results this week, with major retailers including Home Depot (HD), Lowe’s (LOW), Macy’s (M) and The TJX Cos. (TJX) reporting alongside other closely watched names from Coinbase (COIN) to Wayfair (W) and Nikola (NKLA).

So far this earnings season, corporate profits have remained robust, albeit while slowing compared to prior quarters. As of Friday, 84% of S&P 500 companies had reported actual fourth-quarter earnings results, according to FactSet. And the estimated earnings growth rate for S&P 500 companies in aggregate stood at 30.9%, compared to about 40% from the third quarter.

Still, the estimated earnings growth rate for the fourth quarter has trended continuously higher as more companies reported better-than-expected results. On December 31, the estimated earnings growth rate for the fourth quarter had been at just 21.2%.

But while results for many companies have been positive for the final three months of 2021, outlooks have weakened, reflecting lingering supply chain uncertainty, rising prices and other macro concerns. FactSet noted that of companies that held their earnings conference calls between Dec. 15 and Feb. 17, 72% of the corporations mentioned “inflation.”

“In terms of earnings guidance from corporations, 71% of the S&P 500 companies (55 out of 77) that have issued EPS [earnings per share] guidance for Q1 2022 have issued negative guidance, “FactSet’s John Butters wrote in a note Friday.” This is the highest percentage of S&P 500 companies issuing negative guidance since Q3 2019 (73%). “

“Thus, the market may be reacting more to the negative earnings guidance and downward estimates revisions for the first quarter of 2022 than the earnings surprises being reported for the fourth quarter of 2021,” Butters added.

Economic calendar

  • Monday: No notable reports scheduled for release

  • Tuesday: FHFA House Price Index, December (1.1% expected, 1.1% in November); S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index, December month-over-month (1.10% expected, 1.18% in November); S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-City Composite Index, December year-over-year (18.30% expected, 18.29% in November); Markit US Manufacturing PMI, February preliminary (56.0 expected, 55.5 in January); Markit US Services PMI, February preliminary (53.0 expected, 51.2 in January); Markit US Composite PMI, February preliminary (51.1 in January); Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, February (110.0 expected, 113.8 in January); Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, February (10 expected, 8 in January)

  • Wednesday: MBA Mortgage Applications, week ended February 18 (-5.4% during prior week)

  • Thursday: Chicago Fed National Activity Index, January (-0.15 in December); GDP annualized, quarter-over-quarter, 4Q second estimate (7.0% expected, 6.9% in prior estimate); Personal consumption, 4Q second estimate (3.3% expected, 3.3% in prior estimate); Core PCE quarter-over-quarter, 4Q second estimate (4.9% expected, 4.9% in prior estimate); Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity, February (24 in January)

  • Friday: Personal income, January (-0.4%, 0.3% in December); Personal spending, January (1.5% expected, -0.6% in December); Durable Goods Orders, January preliminary (0.9% -0.7% in December); Durable Goods Orders excluding transportation, January preliminary (0.3% expected, 0.6% in December); PCE deflator, January year-over-year (6.0% expected, 5.8% in December); PCE deflator, January month-over-month (0.6% expected, 0.4% in December); PCE core deflator, January year-over-year (5.2% expected, 4.9% in December); PCE core deflator, January month-over-month (0.5% expected, 0.5% in December)

Earnings calendar

Monday

No notable reports scheduled for release

Tuesday

Before market open: Apache Corp. (APA), Home Depot (HD), Tempur Sealy International (TPX), Macy’s (M)

After market close: Caesar’s Entertainment (CZR), Agilent Technologies (A), Diamondback Energy (FANG), The Mosaic Co. (MOS), Toll Brothers (TOL), Virgin Galactic (SPCE), Palo Alto Networks (PANW), Teladoc Health (TDOC)

Wednesday

Before market open: Lowe’s (LOW), Overstock.com (OSTK), The TJX Cos. (TJX), Cerner Corp. (CERN)

After market close: Hertz (HTZ), eBay (EBAY), Revolve Group Inc. (RVLV), Booking Holdings (BKNG), FuboTV (FUBO), Allbirds (BIRD), Bath and Body Works (BBWI), Chesapeake Energy (CHK), Live Nation Entertainment (LYV), The Real Real (REAL), Lemonade ( LMND)

Thursday

Before market open: Keurig Dr. Pepper (KDP), Newmont Corp. (NEM), SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS), Modern (MRNA), Planet Fitness (PLNT), Nikola (NKLA), Wayfair (W), Six Flags Entertainment (SIX), Discovery Inc. (DISCA), Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), Occidental Petroleum (OXY)

After market close: Intuit (INTU), Opendoor Technologies (OPEN), Autodesk (ADSK), Coinbase (COIN), Dell Technologies (DELL), Block Inc. (SQ), Zscaler (ZS), Rocket Cos. (RKT), VMWare (VMW), Etsy (ETSY), Beyond Meat (BYND), Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST)

Friday

No notable reports scheduled for release

Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck

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