U.S. stocks traded higher Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average hitting a record intraday high. Much of the focus this week will be on the final leg of earnings season, with notable financial results from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE:WMT), the world’s largest retailer.
Market professionals will also be eyeing the health of Japan’s economy, which will be revealed Tuesday evening when the world’s third largest economy will posts gross domestic product for the first quarter.
In morning trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) rose 19.61 points, or .11 percent, to 18,292. The Standard & Poor's 500 (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) added 2.41 points, or .12 percent, to 2,125. The Nasdaq composite (INDEXSP:.INX) rose 9.38 points, or .19 percent, to 5,057.
The S&P 500 index closed at record highs last Thursday and Friday, led by gains in the technology sector and the telecommunications services sector. As of Friday's close, the Dow Jones Industrial Average came within 16 points of a new record. The old record was set March 2, when the Dow closed at 18,288.63. The Nasdaq ended the session within roughly 50 points of its all-time closing high.
Notable companies reporting earnings this week include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corporation, Best Buy Co. Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Companies Inc.
Analysts expect Wal-Mart to report first-quarter net income of $3.38 billion, or $1.05 per share, on revenue of $116.3 billion, according to estimates from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. That compares with a profit of $3.59 billion, or $1.11 per share, on sales of $114.96 billion during the same period a year ago.
Shares of Wal-Mart are currently trading around $79.
Minutes from U.S. Federal Reserve’s April meeting will be released Wednesday at 2 p.m. EDT. Economists will look for hints as to when the central bank plans to raise interest rates. The Federal Reserve kept interest rates at historic lows following its two-day policy meeting on April 28-29, and most economists anticipate the Fed will lift rates as early as September after the U.S. economy grew slower than expected in the first quarter.
Meanwhile, economists forecast Japan’s GDP, the broadest measure of goods and services produced across the economy, expanded at a 1.5 seasonally adjusted annual rate in the first quarter from the previous quarter, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. The official numbers come out Tuesday.
The consumption tax increase that went into effect in April 2014 is widely blamed for pushing Japan’s economy into recession last year, weighing on consumer spending, and leading to two consecutive quarters of contraction in the second and third quarters in 2014.
Here's the latest economic calendar for the week of May 15. All listed times are EDT.
- 10 a.m. -- Home builders' index (April)
- 8:30 a.m. -- Housing starts (April)
- 8:30 a.m. -- Building permits (April)
- Japan -- Gross Domestic Product (Q1)
- 2 p.m. -- FOMC minutes
- 8:30 a.m. -- Weekly jobless claims
- 8:30 a.m. -- Chicago Fed national activity index (April)
- 10 a.m. -- Existing home sales (April)
- 10 a.m. -- Philly Fed (May)
- 10 a.m. -- Leading indicators (April)
- Europe – Speech from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi
- 8:30 a.m. -- Consumer price index (April)
- 9:45 a.m. -- Markit PMI flash (May)
- Japan -- Bank of Japan monetary policy statement
- Germany -- gross domestic product