More third-quarter earnings on tap next week, lots of them. Six members of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and one-third of the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index are posting results.
Oil companies' third-quarter earnings are expected to be lower than the previous quarter due to seasonal production declines, a weaker U.S. dollar and slow recovery in the refining sector. But oil prices between $70 and $80 a barrel will help producers report better results than a year ago.
ConocoPhillips (NYSE:COP), the third-largest U.S. oil company, reports Wednesday; the world's largest publicly traded oil company, Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), on Thursday; and Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX), the second-largest in the U.S., next Friday.
Big chemical companies DuPont Co. (NYSE:DD), which reports Tuesday, and Dow Chemical Co. (NYSE:DOW), on Thursday, likely benefited from rising demand in the third quarter. DuPont's results will be skewed as the prior-year period had $117 million of tax benefits from currency hedging. Operating results for Dow, the largest U.S. chemical company by revenue, should rise on higher demand and selling prices as well as its acquisition of Rohm & Haas, which helped generate increased business and cost savings.
More U.S. defense companies will report next week after Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) this week said its third-quarter profit dropped 28% despite higher revenue, as a charge for an executive-buyout program weighed on the bottom line. Investors are looking for more information on the impact of slowing military budgets after the Pentagon last month detailed an overhaul of its buying process. General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE:GD) and Northrop Grumman Co. (NYSE:NOC) both report Wednesday, followed a day later by Raytheon Corp. (NYSE: RTN).
Life insurers Aflac Inc. (NYSE:AFL) and MetLife Inc. (NYSE:MET), which report Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, both are expected to post improved results from a year earlier as they benefit from rising stock markets. The rising yen also will help Aflac, which earns most of its revenue in Japan, while MetLife, the largest U.S. life insurer, had big investment losses in the prior-year quarter.
Results are projected to grow at software giant Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT), which reports Thursday, as it continues to benefit from strong demand for its two biggest products Windows and Office. However, investors are skeptical about its push into newer consumer markets, namely Internet search and mobile phones, where rivals Google Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) are thriving. Meanwhile, chip makers Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) and Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ:BRCM), which report Monday and Tuesday, respectively, are expected to post improved results. TI has reported some weakness in consumer markets, while demand for smartphone chips, Broadcom's specialty, remains strong.
Figures on September existing- and new-home sales, out Monday and Wednesday, respectively, both are expected to show increases of about 3% from August, according to economists polled by Briefing.com. Sales of both types of homes dropped in July from a month earlier. New homes sales were flat in August, while sales of existing homes grew 7.6% from July. Data on August prices is due Tuesday from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index and the Federal Housing Finance Agency's monthly survey.
A Briefing.com poll also shows the government is likely to say the economy grew at 2.4% in the third quarter when it details GDP data next Friday. It rose 1.7% in the second quarter.
Other scheduled reports are the nonprofit Conference Board's October consumer confidence index on Tuesday; government data on September sales of durable goods, those meant to last three or more years, on Wednesday; and the final reading on the Reuters/University of Michigan's consumer sentiment index next Friday. Reports on regional manufacturing activities are due Monday from the Chicago and Dallas Feds, Tuesday from the Richmond Fed and Thursday from the Kansas City Fed.
Among appearances by Federal Reserve officials: Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak Monday in Arlington, Va.; New York Fed President William Dudley will speak Monday in Ithaca, N.Y.; and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will speak Monday in St. Louis.
Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of 20 industrial and developing nations will meet through Saturday in South Korea in advance of the meeting of G-20 leaders next month. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is calling on the world's largest economies to refrain from using their exchange rates to grow at the expense of their trade partners.
The Federal Reserve System and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. are co-hosting a conference Monday and Tuesday on U.S. housing and mortgage markets.
Associates Fall Growth Stock Conference on Monday and Tuesday in San Francisco, Bank of America Merrill Lynch LatAm Growth Conference on Tuesday and Wednesday in New York, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Private Company Conference on Thursday in New York and JPMorgan Public Finance Transportation Conference on Thursday in New York.