Investors next week will be watching car sales and several other pieces of economic data to see whether they will keep the rally in stocks going for another few sessions.
Auto research firm Edmunds.com predicted September U.S. new-vehicle sales would come in at an annual rate of 11.47 million vehicles, compared with 11.44 million in August. Auto makers will report September sales figures next Friday. Total sales are projected to be up 28% from a year ago, as purchases slumped last year after the cash-for-clunkers program concluded, Edmunds said this week.
Meanwhile, the government will release its latest figure for second-quarter gross domestic product Thursday. GDP, used as a measure of economic growth, was cut to 1.6% from 2.4% in the previous revision.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index, out Tuesday, will detail July home prices in 20 major cities. The nonprofit Conference Board also will issue its September consumer confidence index that day.
Next Friday, the government will report on August personal income and spending figures and August construction spending. The final reading on the Reuters/University of Michigan's September consumer sentiment index is due that day along with the Institute for Supply Management's September manufacturing index. Reports on regional manufacturing activity are due Monday for Chicago and Texas; Tuesday for Richmond, Va.; and Thursday for New York, Chicago and Kansas City.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to testify about the new financial regulation law before the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. He will discuss implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial revamp law, which took effect in July. The law gave the Fed a host of new responsibilities, including enhanced power to regulate big financial firms.
Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group Inc.'s (NYSE:DTG) shareholders will vote Thursday on Hertz Global Holdings Inc.'s (NYSE:HTZ) $1.5 billion takeover offer. And votes at Barnes & Noble Inc.'s (NYSE:BKS) annual meeting Tuesday are likely to determine the fate of the nation's largest bookstore chain.
Research In Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ:RIMM) is widely expected to unveil a tablet computer, as well as the underlying operating system that will power it, at its Blackberry developer conference, known as DEVCON. The operating system is expected to come from QNX Software Systems, which RIM acquired earlier this year.
Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG), the nation's largest drugstore chain, is among the companies reporting quarterly results next week. Walgreen, which reports Tuesday, earlier this month posted a 2.1% rise in August same-store sales, the third straight monthly increase, and said it will exchange most of its long-term-care pharmacy business for substantially all of Omnicare Inc.'s home-infusion operations. Other companies posting results are discount retailer Family Dollar Stores Inc. (NYSE:FDO) on Wednesday and consulting and outsourcing company Accenture PLC (NYSE:ACN) on Thursday.
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) chief executive William Weldon will testify before a House panel Thursday about the drug maker's handling of its massive recalls of over-the-counter medicines, including Tylenol and Motrin.
Legislation that targets imports from China and other countries with currencies similarly perceived to be undervalued sailed through the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Friday, preparing the way for a vote in the full chamber perhaps as soon as next week.
Representatives of drug makers Merck & Co. (NYSE:MRK) and Johnson & Johnson will have a private showdown next week in New York in their dispute over marketing rights for blockbuster anti-inflammatory drug Remicade.
Regulators will propose a series of new rules for derivatives clearinghouses next week and set a deadline for firms to report some of their swap trades. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will vote in public for the first time next Friday on proposals to implement the over-the-counter derivatives provisions in the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation law enacted in July.
The Financial Stability Oversight Council, charged with safeguarding against future financial crises, will hold its first meeting next Friday. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will chair the council.