Stocks showed mixed results last week as recession fears resurfaced in response to weak economic data and a tepid start to a new corporate earnings season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average skidded 2.70%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 declined 0.66%. But the Nasdaq Composite index gained 0.55% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, lost 0.50%.1,2,3
Mixed Economic Data
Stocks weakened to start the week amid discouraging corporate earnings and troubling economic data. Disappointing retail sales and manufacturing reports sparked concerns that the Fed may have gone too far in hiking rates, while a drop in initial jobless claims diminished chances of a near-term pause in rate hikes. Welcome news from two big technology names on Friday powered a strong rally that mixed significant indices.
The start of the earnings season was a drag on investor sentiment. While 69% of the S&P 500 constituent companies that reported earnings by Thursday (48 companies) exceeded expectations, the percentage of “beats” is below the three-year average. More concerning, however, was that average earnings declined by more than 2%.4
Retail sales fell 1.1% in December, capping an overall weak holiday shopping season. November retail sales were revised downward to -1.0%, from the earlier estimate of -0.6%. Compared to November-December 2021, sales increased by 5.3%, below the 6 to 8% increase expected by The National Retail Federation.5,6
Many economists viewed these lackluster numbers as evidence of a weakening consumer. A more cautious consumer raises more concerns about a recession at some point this year since the primary driver of U.S. economic growth is consumer spending.
This Week: Key Economic Data
Tuesday: Purchasing Managers’ Index Composite.
Thurday: Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Durable Goods Orders. New Home Sales. Jobless Claims.
Friday: Consumer Sentiment.
Source: Econoday, January 20, 2023
This Week: Companies Reporting Earnings
Tuesday: Microsoft Corporation (MSFT), General Electric Company (GE), Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT), Texas Instruments, Inc. (TXN), Union Pacific Corporation (UNP), D.R. Horton, Inc. (DHI), Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX).
Wednesday: AT&T, Inc. (T), The Boeing Company (BA), Tesla, Inc. (TSLA), International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Lam Research Corporation (LRCX), Abbott Laboratories (ABT), CSX Corporation (CSX), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NEE), KimberlyClark Corporation (KMB), Norfolk Southern Corporation (NSC), General Dynamics (GD).
Thursday: Intel Corporation (INTL), Visa, Inc. (V), Mastercard, Inc. (MA), Blackstone, Inc. (BX), Northrop Grumman Corporation (NOC), Southwest Airlines Co. (LUV), Rockwell Automation, Inc. (ROK).
Friday: Chevron Corporation(CVX), HCA Healthcare, Inc. (HCA), American Express Company (AXP), ColgatePalmolive Company (CL).
Source: Zacks, January 20, 2023
Beware of Improper Employee Retention Credit Claim
The employee retention credit (ERC) is a refundable tax credit for businesses that continued paying employees while shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic or had significant declines in gross receipts from March 13, 2020–December 31, 2021. While this tax credit can be a great benefit for employers, there have been third parties promoting improper ERC claims.
Employers should be wary of third parties advising them to claim the employee retention credit when they may not qualify. These third parties often charge hefty upfront fees or a fee contingent on the refund amount.
There are several conditions employers must meet to be eligible for an ERC. If you know of any improper ERC claims, submit Form 3949-A, Information Referral, to the IRS.
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.
Tip adapted from IRS.gov7
"The information contained above is illustrative, provided for educational and informational purposes only, does not constitute investment advice and it should not be relied on as such. It should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell a security. It does not take into account any investor's particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status or investment horizon. You should consult your attorney or tax advisor."
Footnotes and Sources
2. The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2023
3. The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2023
4. The Earnings Scout, January 19, 2023
5. Census.gov, January 18, 2023
6. The Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2023
7. IRS.gov, November 7, 2022
8. TODAY, January 31, 2015
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