World week ahead: US earnings in focus
A slew of corporate earnings results will likely set the mood in the coming days after last week's record run that boosted Wall Street to its best weekly performance this year.
In the past five days, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.1 percent, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index advanced 2.3 percent while the Nasdaq Composite Index rose 2.8 percent. Both the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at record highs on Thursday.
Europe's Stoxx 600 Index advanced 1.8 percent for the week, ending three consecutive weeks of declines.
Disappointing reports on retail sales and consumer sentiment tempered the mood – and the market – on Friday. Retail sales shrank 0.4 percent in March, following a 1 percent gain in February, according to Commerce Department data, while the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan's preliminary index of consumer sentiment slid to 72.3 in April, the lowest since July 2012 and short of expectations.
"It's not as if things are falling apart, they're just softening relative to a strong start to the quarter," Michael Feroli, chief US economist at JPMorgan Chase in New York, told Bloomberg News. "The first quarter still looks better than had been expected a few months ago, particularly in the face of the headwinds."
Solid results from JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo were not enough to support the stocks, which ended down 0.6 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively.
"The numbers weren't terrible, but also not terribly inspiring," Hank Herrmann, chief executive of Waddell & Reed Financial in Overland Park, Kansas, told Reuters. "I wanted to see more credit growth as confirmation that the economy is doing better and that didn't show up."
Companies scheduled to release results in the coming days include Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, Google, Yahoo, Coca-Cola, McDonald's and General Electric.
Of the 30 S&P 500 companies that reported first-quarter results so far, 70 percent exceeded analysts' profit estimates and 57 percent beat sales projections, according to Bloomberg data.
Investors will also eye the latest US economic reports, starting with the Empire State Manufacturing Survey on Monday and the housing market index on Monday, as well as the consumer price index, housing starts and industrial production, all due Tuesday, and the Philadelphia Fed survey, due Thursday.
The Fed's Beige Book is out on Wednesday.
In Europe, investors will eye the release of ZEW's monthly investor confidence index for Germany, the region's biggest economy, due on Tuesday. On the same day, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi is scheduled to present the bank's annual report to the European Parliament.
This week Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet in Washington.
Commodities including gold, oil, silver and copper took a tumble on Friday. Gold has now lost more than 20 percent from its record high reached in September 2011, falling into a bear market. Precious metals have lost their favoured status this year as investors have opted to make increasing bets on equities.
The sharp drop in gold on Friday alone knocked more than $US300 million off of billionaire John Paulson's holdings in the metal, according to Bloomberg.
In the past five days, the yen shed 0.8 percent against the US dollar, continuing its slide on the Bank of Japan's stimulus measures announced earlier this month. In a move to at least slow the yen's decline, the US Treasury on Friday told Japan "to refrain from competitive devaluation".