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Keep a Focus on Q4 Earnings: Global Week Ahead

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This Global Week Ahead will likely focus on Q4 earnings reports.

With Q4 U.S. earnings season underway, U.S. bank heavyweights like Goldman Sachs report next.

Reuters’ global teams of journalists ask this: How long will the U.K. pound prove resilient to Britain's rising political uncertainty?

They also informed us that the big Davos confab will go virtual for a 2nd year.

Traders get a slew of mainland China macro data to pour over, starting Monday.

The Bank of Japan (BoJ) holds the first major central bank in 2022. It ends on Tuesday.

Next are Reuters’ five world market themes, reordered for equity traders.

(1) Big Banks Continue to Report Q4 EPS, Netflix Reports Thursday

U.S. earnings season goes into full swing, and this time it is the financial sector, with its blistering start to 2022, in focus.

The S&P 500 Financials Index (XLF - Free Report) is up almost 6% so far this year, while the broader S&P 500 is down 2%  as investors bet on banks benefiting from new lending and the higher yields expected to accompany a more aggressive Fed.

Goldman Sachs (GS - Free Report) and BNY Mellon (BNY - Free Report) report on Tuesday; Bank of America (BAC - Free Report) on Wednesday.

Big non-financial firms reporting include Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) on Thursday, Jan. 20th.

Bank executives are expected to be optimistic on the outlook; whether that is enough to sustain demand for bank shares remains to be seen. As some note, bank stocks often do better ahead of rate hikes than they do during rate increases.

(2) U.K. Pound Getting Stronger

Sterling is sailing high thanks to signs the Omicron COVID surge is easing and expectations that British interest rates will likely rise again in February. It is at two-month peaks against the dollar and one the best performing major currencies early in 2022.

If upcoming data boosts rate-hike bets, currency bulls will have another reason to push sterling higher. November jobs numbers are out on Tuesday, followed by December inflation on Wednesday and retail sales figures on Thursday.

Meanwhile the pound appears unfazed by growing political uncertainty. Boris Johnson's position as prime minister appears vulnerable after revelations he attended a Downing Street party during a 2020 lockdown.

Did not someone say a week is a long time in politics? The same might prove true for trading the pound.

(3) Key China Macro Data Hits the Tape

Data on Monday confirmed mainland China’s economy stabilized in Q4, rebounding from power outages and coronavirus setbacks, and pushing 2021's growth to 8.1%.

Wednesday data last week showed new bank lending fell more than expected in December, although full year lending set a record as the central bank slowly ramps up policy support to cushion the slowing economy.

Stop-go efforts at easing monetary conditions are a key focus for investors, alongside whether policymakers can balance cleaning up a bloated property sector while containing stress on home buyers and suppliers.

With the Chinese New Year holiday in early February and the Winter Olympics in Beijing soon after, the central bank will be inclined to keep banks and markets flush with cash.

(4) Davos Confab Stays Virtual

For a second year, world leaders, policy makers and top corporate chiefs bound for the World Economic Forum (WEF) in the Swiss ski resort of Davos on Jan. 17-21 will tuck away snow boots and hop on video calls to tackle the world's big challenges.

The mood is glum: Only one in 10 WEF surveyed expects the global recovery to accelerate over the next three years, with only one in six optimistic about the world outlook.

Climate change is seen as the number one danger, while erosion of social cohesion, livelihood crises and deterioration of mental health are seen as the risks that have increased the most due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan's Fumio Kishida, India's Narendra Modi, the European Commission's Ursula von der Leyen, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and ECB's Christine Lagarde are all scheduled to speak. The full in-person meeting has been postponed to early summer.

(5) Bank of Japan (BoJ) Policy Meeting Concludes Tuesday

The good news for Bank of Japan officials meeting Jan 17-18: inflation is creeping higher; the economy is picking up.

Consumer prices rose at their fastest pace in nearly two years in November. Even Japan's giant of affordable attire, Uniqlo says it has no choice but to raise prices — a change in a nation where deflation is the norm and firms deal with any rise in costs by tightening belts rather than passing them on.

The bad news? Inflation is rising for the wrong reasons.

Instead of being the fruit of nearly a decade of super-charged monetary stimulus, rising prices are driven by surging energy prices and a weakening yen.

The challenge is preventing rising living costs from hurting weak household spending and a fragile recovery. So, the BOJ may debate how soon it can start telegraphing a rate hike, but will also pledge to continue ultra-easy policy this year.

Top Zacks #1 Rank (STRONG BUY) Stocks

The largest #1 stocks by market cap — in our system at the moment — are the following:

(1) Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) : At a $1,031 share price, I see a market cap of $1.04T. The Zacks Value score is F, the Zacks Growth score is A and the Zacks Momentum score is A.

(2) NVIDIA (NVDA - Free Report) : At a $265 share price, I see a market cap of $664.3B. The Zacks Value score is F, the Zacks Growth score is C and the Zacks Momentum score is A.

(3) Home Depot (HD - Free Report) : At a $386 share price, I see a market cap of $404B. The Zacks Value score is D, the Zacks Growth score is D and the Zacks Momentum score is C.

When do those lousy Zacks Value scores matter? Good luck timing that.

Key Global Macro

There are lots of quality macro prints coming out, all week long.

On Monday, mainland China’s Q4 real GDP growth rose +4.0% y/y, after printing +4.9% in the prior quarter. Is Q4 where the bottom is?

Mainland China’s domestic retail sales for DEC missed the +3.6% expected and came in just +1.7% year over year. This comes after a slightly upwardly revised +3.9% y/y print in NOV. This monthly figure is typically close to +10.0% y/y.

There will be a mainland China National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) press conference too. Interesting.

It is Martin Luther King’s birthday in the USA.

On Tuesday, the Bank of Japan (BoJ) should keep its -0.1% policy rate.

There will be a BoJ press conference.

We get the important ZEW surveys out of Europe.

On Wednesday, the U.K.’s producer price index (PPI) for DEC should be +9.4% y/y (nsa), after +9.1% in NOV. That is high, folks. Is the top in?

The U.K.’s core DCLG House Price Index has been up +10.2% y/y. We get an update. That is not as bad as the USA, but it is high.

U.S. housing starts should be 1.66M in DEC, after a 1.679M print in NOV. Those are strong numbers.

On Thursday, Australia’s household unemployment rate should be 4.5% in DEC. It was 4.6% in NOV. This may be much different after Omicron in Q1-22.

U.S. existing home sales should be rising to 6.49M in DEC, after a 6.46M print in NOV. When does this market cool, now that the 30-yr fixed mortgage rate is on the rise again?

On Friday, the U.K.’s retail sales for DEC should be up +4.2% y/y.

Conclusion

According to Zacks Research Director Sheraz Mian—

“Looking at Q4 as a whole, expect total S&P500 earnings for Q4-21 to be up +19.9% from the same period last year on +11.9% higher revenues. That growth pace decelerates significantly in the following periods.”

He will give us much more details on the coming reports at the week’s end.

Happy trading and investing to all!

Warm Regards,

John Blank