Here is what you need to know on Friday:
Better Tone to Markets
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Markets worldwide were in a better mood on Friday, after Thursday’s sell-off. Yesterday, investors turned to utility stocks, Treasury bonds and gold over fresh eurozone worries. Banco Espirito Santo SA, the top listed bank in Portugal, missed a bond payment, reigniting questions over the bank’s finances. Late last year, an audit found accounting irregularities at the parent company, Espirito Santo International. Meanwhile, Italy and France surprised economists with declines in industrial production.
Although the concerns over Europe began to subside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped another 32 points in Friday early-morning trading. Traders may not be ready to bring their focus back to the U.S. The Labor Department’s latest report on first-time jobless claims, which unexpectedly fell from 315,000 to 311,000 last week, was overshadowed Thursday by the news out of Portugal.
Wells Fargo Earnings
Before the opening bell Friday, Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) reported second quarter earnings, matching Wall Street estimates. The San Francisco-based bank reported a profit of $1.01 a share. Revenue declined 1.5% year-over-year to $21.07 billion, but still topped expectations. Wells Fargo, the largest mortgage lender in the U.S., is used as a gauge of the housing market. Home lending originations continued to decline compared to last year, coming in at $47 billion.
The rest of the top banks report next week, including Citigroup (NYSE:C) on Monday, J.P. Morgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) on Tuesday and Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) on Wednesday. Themes are expected to include weak trading volume, but the money-center banks have been underperforming of late, so maybe the negatives are priced in. Regional banks are expected to do better, thanks in part to loan growth. For money-center banks, it’s not as clear.
S&P Predicts Stronger Earnings Season
Earnings season will set the tone for the markets over the next three weeks. S&P Capital IQ expects overall profit growth of 6.5%, with nine out of the 10 leading sectors projected to see growth in profits and revenue. Overall, revenue is seen rising about 4%. The laggard of earnings season is expected to be the financials. The strongest leaders will likely be telecom, materials and energy.
Retail is having a rough start to earnings season. On Thursday, The Container Store’s (NYSE:TCS) chief executive, Kip Tindell, said the industry is experiencing a “retail funk.” The headwinds that led to sluggish sales in recent quarters went beyond unfavorable weather and calendar shifts, he added. Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO) said fewer shoppers visited its stores in the second quarter. The company plans to begin selling beer and wine next year to help drive sales.
FOX Business reporter Matthew Rocco contributed to this report.