Week Ahead: Retailers' Earnings and Consumer Sentiment

By RetailFOXBusiness

A handful of retailers, apparel companies and the nation's top two tax preparers are among those planning to report their latest quarterly earnings results next week.

Talbots Inc. (NYSE:TLB), Men's Wearhouse Inc. (NYSE:MW) and Oxford Industries Inc. (NYSE:OXM) are expected to report their latest quarterly results next week. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters projected a mixed performance from the trio, with top- and bottom-line growth only expected from Men's Wearhouse, which operates stores for men in the U.S. and Canada.

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Meanwhile, tax-service providers H&R Block Inc. (NYSE:HRB) and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. (NYSE:JTX) are scheduled to report results on Tuesday and Friday, respectively. Wall Street analysts expected H&R Block to report slightly better results, while Jackson Hewitt's fiscal second-quarter loss is seen widening.

Other companies expected to report their latest earnings next week include auto-parts retailer AutoZone Inc. (NYSE:AZO) on Tuesday and gun maker Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. (NASDAQ:SWHC) on Wednesday.

The preliminary University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index is expected to show an increase in December to 72.2 from the final reading of 71.6 in November, according to a Briefing.com consensus. The index grew in the prior month due to the performance of the equity market and better employment numbers. U.S. stocks capped their best two-day performance since July this week as better-than-expected retail and home sales encouraged investors.

Verizon Wireless said it plans to begin offering its faster next-generation wireless service on Sunday as the carrier officially jumps into the 4G fray. The carrier -- jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc (NYSE:VOD) -- said its new fourth-generation service initially will be for laptop aircards only, with additional devices, including smartphones, coming by the middle of next year.

U.S. stock exchanges next week are expected to ask regulators to extend for four additional months a pilot program that limits price swings in some stocks put in place last summer in the wake of the market's May 6 "flash crash," according to people familiar with the matter. Market operators plan to seek an extension until April 11 of so-called circuit breakers for individual stocks and exchange-traded funds, the people said.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday said Contrave, a proposed weight-loss drug from Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:OREX), raised blood pressure in some patients but met one of the agency's standards for being an effective weight-loss treatment. Contrave, which is being developed with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., is a combination of two drugs already on the market. The product will be reviewed by an FDA advisory panel next week.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will appear on CBS's "60 Minutes" show this Sunday, the television network said. Bernanke is expected to discuss the unemployment rate, the deficit and the Fed's decision to purchase $600 billion in U.S. Treasurys in an effort to boost a weak economy.

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