It was a busy weekend. First and foremost on my mind is the ""almost was" story of Tom Watson at the British Open. I can honestly say I was crushed when it wasn’t the 59-year old Watson holding up the Claret Jug when the tournament was done.
Watson fought so hard, and played so well. To not win seemed unfair. But that’s golf. Still, it was a great story while it lasted. Bravo, Mr. Watson.
*****The government was busy too. Five more banks failed over the weekend -mostly small regional banks that aren’t making many headlines.
*****CIT Group (NYSE:CIT) was saved by a $3 billion lifeline from its bondholders. This is big news for the nation’s retailers as CIT is one of the biggest lenders to small retailers in the U.S.
Even though CIT was denied more bailout money, it’s significant that investors were willing to support the troubled company. At some point, the government has to back off with the bailouts if it really believes the economy is improving. And if the economy is improving, private investors should be willing and able to move on troubled companies.
Both of these things happened with CIT. And that’s helped the stock, and the stock market, post gains in the early going Monday.
*****Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) is upping its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 1,060. That’s about 120 points higher than current levels. Goldman believes that rising corporate earnings will support higher stock prices.
We’ve seen earnings beat analyst expectations so far this earnings season. And there have been a few companies offering higher forecasts. But most companies have achieved better earnings through cost-cutting, not growing revenues. Cost-cutting cannot give permanent increases to earnings. At some point, revenues must rise.
The markets are rallying on earnings. But it will take evidence of rising revenues to sustain the rally.
*****Now, let’s have a look at the week ahead. Of course, earnings will dominate the news once again with reports from Legg Mason (NYSE:LM) and Texas Instruments (NYSE:TXN) this afternoon. Tomorrow, we get Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), and Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO). Wednesday, it’s Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), US Bancorp (NYSE:USB) and Wells-Fargo (NYSE:WFC) plus a host of regional banks.
Thursday is a huge day. We’ll hear from 3M (NYSE:MMM), AT&T (NYSE:T), Microsoft (NYSE:MSFT), American Express (NYSE:AXP), UPS (NYSE:UPS), McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) and Amazon.com (Nasdaq:AMZN), just to name a few. Then Friday, things lighten up with Black & Decker (NYSE:BDK) and Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE:IR) reporting.
On the economic front, we get crude inventories on Wednesday, July 22. Then Thursday, July 23, it’s initial jobless claims and existing home sales. And finally on Friday, July 24, we get the Michigan Consumer Sentiment Review.