Week Ahead: Plenty of Earnings, But Scant Economic Data

A full calendar of earnings is due next week, including reports from such bellwether companies as Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) Disney (NYSE:DIS), and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO).

Only a handful of economic data reports are due. A widely-watched gauge of consumer sentiment, the Reuters/University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index, is likely to reflect growing optimism in the wake of today’s better-than-expected jobs report. That report is due Friday.

The U.S. added 243,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell to 8.3%, the lowest figure in three years.

Analysts expect fourth-quarter results from Coke, Disney and Cisco to improve upon 2010 earnings as the economy slowly recovers.

Earnings are also due next week from media conglomerate News Corp. (NASDAQ:NWSA), the parent company of FOX Business, and Time Warner (NYSE: TWX); restaurant companies Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM), and Dunkin' Brands Group (NASDAQ:DNKN); and communications firm Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S). Tobacco firms Lorillard (NYSE:LO), Reynolds American  (NYSE:RAI) and Philip Morris International  (NYSE:PM) are also out next week.

The initial public offering market will welcome seven new stocks from companies ranging from grocery chain Roundy’s Supermarkets to information-technology outsourcing company EPAM Systems.

The market has been decidedly mixed for IPOs so far this year, as two deals expected to be welcomed last week by investors were not: Silica Holdings (NASDAQ:SLCA) and AVG Technologies (NYSE:AVG) each fell below their offering prices after debuting this week.

Nevada holds Republican presidential caucuses on Saturday. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney seemed to be separating himself from the pack after a strong win in the Florida primary on Tuesday.

Data on December U.S. wholesale inventories and the trade deficit will be released by the Commerce Department on Thursday and Friday, respectively.