The S&P 500 index slipped 0.3% last week, marking its second weekly drop in a row, as investors traded cautiously at the start of the Q4 earnings reporting season.
The decline for 2022 thus far has come amid concerns about inflation and the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has been going on for two years, the US recently has been setting new record highs in daily case counts due to the spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant. This has contributed to recent staffing and supply-chain issues.
Some of the season’s early reports have added to investors’ concerns. Delta Air Lines (DAL) swung to a Q4 profit that topped analysts’ estimates, but the US airline expects to record a loss in the current three-month period with the omicron variant of COVID-19 impacting its short-term outlook. JPMorgan Chase’s (JPM) Q4 earnings per share surpassed analysts’ mean estimate but fell from the year-earlier period while its revenue not only declined year over year but also missed the Street consensus estimate.
By sector, real estate had the largest percentage drop last week, down by 2%, followed by a 1.5% slip in consumer discretionary, a 1.4% fall in utilities and a 0.8% decline in financials.
Still, two sectors managed to gain. Energy jumped 5.2% and communication services rose 0.5%.
When the markets reopen on Tuesday, investors will see earnings reports from companies including Bank of America (BAC) and Goldman Sachs Group (GS). Wednesday’s reports are expected to include Procter & Gamble (PG), Alcoa (AA) and United Airlines Holdings (UAL). Thursday’s list features Union Pacific (UNP) and Netflix (NFLX) while Friday will bring reports from Schlumberger (SLB) and Huntington Bancshares (HBAN).
Economic data being released next week will include some regional January data, including the Empire State Manufacturing Survey on Tuesday and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey on Wednesday, as well as housing data including December building permits and housing starts on Wednesday and December existing home sales on Thursday.
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