Stocks Struggle for Direction as Banks Jumpstart Earnings Season

All three indexes were headed towards weekly losses

Digital Content Manager
Jul 16, 2021 at 3:17 PM
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Another earnings season descended upon Wall Street this week, with bank stocks leading the charge. Despite a week packed full of key economic indicators and quarterly reports, though, stocks barely budged. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) did start out the week on a strong note, blasting towards a record close, joined by the S&P 500 index (SPX) and Nasdaq Composite (IXIC), as investors looked toward Federal Chair Jerome Powell's Capitol Hill testimony. The blue-chip index was reversing course by Tuesday, though, after a hotter-than-expected consumer price index (CPI) weighed on markets -- marking the CPI's fastest acceleration in almost 13 years. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq pulled back, too, but not before logging more record intraday highs. The S&P 500 notched yet another mid-session high on Wednesday, though stocks were relatively muted as investors eyed a downward trend in bond yields, and digested initial comments from Powell during his two-day testimony. 

Thursday marked another quiet day for stocks. Initial jobless claims touched a new pandemic-era low, falling in line with estimates, and Powell reiterated the inflation spike will likely be transitory, which drew some criticism. Markets continued to struggle for direction during Friday's session, amid spiking inflation fears and mixed earnings reports. At last check, all three indexes were firmly in the red, and eyeing losses for the week. 

Bank Earnings Kick Off Earnings Season

As is customary, major names from the financial sector kicked off another earnings season. It was a mixed bag for bank earnings this week, with many names pressured by a sharp decline in trading activity from last year's record levels. JPMorgan Chase (JMP) and Goldman Sachs (GS) were two sector heavyweights feeling the heat, slipping on Tuesday despite blowout earnings beats.

That didn't stop Morgan Stanley (MS) and Charles Schwab (SCHW) from rallying ahead of their respective quarterly reports, though the former had a muted post-earnings reaction. Meanwhile, Bank of America (BAC) also dipped after a revenue miss whipped up headwinds for the equity.

4 Fresh Stocks Primed for a Bounce

Several stocks looked ready to pop this week, based on technical data from Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. Specifically, these equities pulled back to key trendlines with historically bullish implications, meaning it might be worth keeping tabs on them this month. One blue-chip name in the mix is (CRM), which pulled back to its 40-day moving average, while Ford Motor (F) and Zoom Video Communications (ZM) retreated to the same trendline. While not flashing a technical signal, Yeti (YETI) looks ready to jump higher as well, as it seems primed for a short squeeze or unwinding of pessimism in the options pits. 

High-Profile Earnings on Deck Next Week

Earnings season will kick into high gear next week, with plenty of high-profile reports for investors to digest, including results from American Express (AXP), Biogen (BIIB), Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Coca-Cola (KO), Intel (INTC), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Netflix (NFLX), Travelers (TRV), United Airlines (UAL), and Verizon (VZ). Meanwhile, the economic calendar looks relatively bare, though the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) index is due out, as well as another round of jobs and house sales data.

In the meantime, check out our latest Monday Morning Outlook, in which Senior Market Strategist Matthew Timpane dives into whether or not the immediate-term stock market rally has really ended. Plus, Rocky White reveals 25 stocks with solid straddle returns


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