Stocks are up 15% in 2023 due to the rally driven by tech stocks. Equities are, in fact, the best-performing asset class this year after Bitcoin, which has surged 54.4% year-to-date. Let’s see what investors should expect from Wall Street in the next five days.


Walmart and retail earnings under focus

Big-box retailers such as Walmart (NYSE: WMT), Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and Target (NYSE: TGT) will report earnings this week, which will be used as a proxy for retail sales and consumer spending. If these companies beat consensus estimates, the U.S. consumer remains in decent shape.

Analysts expect Walmart to report sales of $160 billion in the July quarter, an increase of 4.6% year over year. But analysts are forecast to decline 4.5% to $1.69 per share in the July quarter.

Home Depot sales are estimated to fall 3.5% to $42.24 billion, while earnings might narrow by 20% to $4.60 per share in the quarter ended in July.

Target’s sales might decline 2.8% to $25.3 billion, but earnings are forecast to more than triple to $1.43 per share.

Moreover, the Census Bureau is set to release detailed national retail sales figures for July on Tuesday, providing insights into consumer spending patterns for the month. Retail sales, which are unadjusted for inflation, are anticipated to have increased by 0.4% in July. This would represent the fourth straight month of growth.

On an annual basis, the growth is expected to be around 1%, the most sluggish rate since the pandemic-triggered downturns in early 2020. After a 7% rise last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF) anticipates growth in retail spending of 4% to 6% in 2023, reaching between $5.13 to $5.23 trillion.


Another interest rate hike?

Details from the FOMC Meeting, The Federal Reserve will unveil the minutes from the FOMC meeting that took place between July 25-26 on Wednesday. At this meeting, policymakers elevated interest rates by a quarter percent, marking the 11th and possibly the last hike in this tightening cycle.

These minutes shed light on possible future monetary policies and whether there are plans among Fed officials to adjust rates further to align with the bankU+02019s inflation target of 2%. Based on the CME GroupU+02019s FedWatch Tool, thereU+02019s a 90% chance that the Fed will maintain the current rates in the upcoming policy assembly in September.


Housing market index

Housing Market Insights will bring fresh data on the housing sector, encompassing July building permits and housing starts statistics, along with the NAHB’s Housing Market Index for August. Housing starts for July are estimated to have marginally increased to 1.44 million from 1.43 million in June.

The NAHB’s Housing Market Index, a reflection of future sales predictions derived from a homebuilder survey, is likely to remain consistent with a score of 56. This index has been on an upward trend for seven consecutive months since its low in December, showcasing a resilient housing demand despite the challenges of escalating mortgage rates and limited housing stock.

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