MarketWatch.com May 16, 2009, 11:16 a.m. EST
A light economic calendar next week will provide few clues for investors to make up their minds.
- On Monday will be the May housing market index from the National Association of Home Builders.
- Tuesday will bring April housing starts and building permits.
- On Wednesday, investors will parse economic projections from the minutes of the Federal Reserve's last monetary policy meeting in late April.
- Thursday will bring weekly jobless claims, a manufacturing index for May from the Philadelphia region, along with leading economic indicators for April.
- Ablin also notes that massive amounts of cash remain stuffed in money market funds, which could provide much needed fuel for the rally.
- With 461 of S&P 500 companies having already reported, earnings are expected to be down 35.6% from the year earlier quarter, according to Thomson Financial.
- Of companies that have reported, 65% have beat estimates, 9% have matched, and 26% have missed.
- Actual results have come in 7% above estimates, the first time Thomson's "surprise factor" is positive in almost a year and a half.
- "Companies have not only beaten the estimates, but by a pretty wide margins this quarter," said John Butters, earnings analyst at Thomson.
- And for the second quarter, earnings are expected to have fallen 35.9% from the year earlier, while the ratio of negative to positive pre-announcements has returned to 2 to 1, its long term average.