Plenty of market-moving news will break this week: One way or another, big changes loom due to Washington's budget fight; and Home Depot, Groupon, Best Buy, RadioShack and Monster will report earnings.
What does the current state, and the likely future, of the American real estate market mean for companies like Home Depot and Lowe's? We break down the numbers to see which (if either) is a good investment.
Given the market's extreme and distressing gyrations over the past week, you'd be forgiven for thinking corporate earnings had been, on the whole, disappointing. But that's not actually the case: A large majority of public companies have performed quite well.
Over the last few years, Home Depot has expanded its retail stores aggressively, adding more than 200 outlets annually. However, the firm has recently embarked on a $1.1 billion program to improve its Web presence while dramatically reducing the number of new store openings to around 10 in 2011.
Many of America's best-known retailers, including Walmart, Home Depot and JCPenney, will be stepping into the earnings spotlight this week. Their reports come on the heels of disappointing January retail sales numbers from the Commerce Department.
Home Depot raised its 2010 outlook, and expects both sales and profits to rise in 2011, when it plans to open 10 new stores. The nation's biggest home improvement retailer expects sales to rise approximately 2.3%, up from a previously projected 2.2% gain.
The nation's largest home improvement retailer reported that its third quarter net earnings rose a higher-than-expected 21% due to lower expenses and cost cuts. Additionally, Home Depot raised its fiscal 2010 earnings outlook.
The home improvement retailer beat earnings expectations but sales fell below estimates as consumers continue to hold back on spending due to economic concerns.
With unemployment rising and second-quarter GDP likely to be revised downward, the S&P 500 stock index may be heading below 1,000 in the next month from the 1,079 close on Aug. 13. The key data may be Wal-Mart and Home Depot's earnings.