Mixed Market Performance As Traders Await Earnings and CPI Data


Simpler Trading Team

Apr 24th 2023  .  4 min read

Market Open: Navigating Earnings Season Uncertainty

Today’s market opened with a cautious tone as traders looked ahead to a wave of earnings announcements from major technology companies and awaited new economic data releases. Futures trading leading up to the market open appeared indecisive, reflecting the market’s anticipation for the earnings releases that could sway the overall sentiment.

Market Developments

A Tale of Two Sectors: Energy Shines, Tech Struggles

In today’s trading session, the energy, healthcare, materials, industrials, and consumer staples sectors led the way with impressive gains. In contrast, the real estate, information technology, consumer discretionary, and financial sectors lagged behind. Traders appeared to be taking a wait-and-see approach, particularly with the technology sector, as they anticipated earnings announcements from major tech players like Alphabet (GOOGL), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN), and Meta (FB).

Stock Standouts: Highs and Lows

On the winning side, Albemarle (ALB), Halliburton (HAL), and Molina Healthcare (MOH) outperformed their peers in the S&P 500. ALB, a lithium company, saw its shares recover from recent losses tied to concerns over the Chilean President’s remarks on nationalizing the lithium industry. HAL experienced gains ahead of its earnings report, while MOH rose in anticipation of its earnings announcement later this week. Meanwhile, Carrier Global (CARR) underperformed, dropping on the news that the company was in advanced talks to acquire Viessmann.

Earnings Watch: Anticipating Big Tech’s Impact

Traders are closely watching for earnings reports from major technology companies this week, which marks the halfway point of the earnings season. According to FactSet data, over 76% of companies listed on the S&P 500 index have beat analyst estimates. However, Refinitiv projects a 5.2% overall decline in first-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies.

Market participants are eager to see how big tech earnings will influence stock prices, given that the communication services and information technology sectors have already posted significant year-to-date gains of over 19% and 18%, respectively. The following companies are scheduled to release their earnings reports this week:

  • Alphabet (GOOGL): The parent company of Google is expected to report increased revenue from its core search and advertising businesses, as well as continued growth in its cloud division. Analysts will also look for updates on the company’s investments in artificial intelligence and self-driving technology.
  • Microsoft (MSFT): The software giant is anticipated to post strong earnings, driven by growth in its cloud computing services, such as Azure, and sustained demand for its productivity software suite, Office 365. Traders will be keen to hear any updates regarding the company’s recent acquisition of gaming giant Activision Blizzard.
  • Amazon (AMZN): E-commerce leader Amazon is projected to report robust sales numbers, bolstered by its online retail and cloud computing segments. Additionally, traders will be looking for insights on the company’s plans for expansion into new markets and updates on the performance of its advertising and streaming services.
  • Meta (FB): Previously known as Facebook, Meta is expected to report continued growth in advertising revenue, as well as increased user engagement on its social media platforms. Market participants will also be interested in any updates regarding the company’s ambitious efforts in the metaverse and augmented/virtual reality technologies.

Economic Reporting: Awaiting Clues on Inflation and Rate Hikes

Traders are closely monitoring upcoming economic data releases that may shed light on whether inflation is cooling down or whether the Federal Reserve will announce another rate hike at its next meeting. Notable data releases include the first quarter GDP numbers and April’s consumer sentiment data, both of which are expected later this week.

Market Close: Steady Finish Amidst Earnings Anticipation

As the trading day concluded, the market showcased a mixed bag of performances. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged up by 15 points (0.04%), hovering close to its flatline, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.5%. The S&P 500, on the other hand, remained relatively stable, trading near its breakeven point. This cautious trading can be attributed to investors keeping an eye on upcoming big tech earnings and crucial economic data releases.