US indices closed at record highs on Friday, and that has guided ASX futures to a positive start this morning. In the most-important week of earnings season in the US, mega-tech names will hand down their results, while the Federal Reserve’s next Board meeting could prove a catalyst.


Economic calendar and news

A packed week of economic data in the US will compete with earnings season for the headlines, starting with data on new home sales, house prices and durable goods orders

The most-important event of the week, however, will be the Federal Reserve’s meeting for July. The watch-point here will be the rhetoric around when the central bank might begin to seriously consider winding back its bond-buying program.

A preliminary reading for second-quarter GDP growth will be published later in the week, and it is tipped to show growth of approximately 8.5% for the US economy, compared with the quarter prior.

Personal income and spending data will round out the week, including the pivotal reading on personal consumption expenditure, a preferred measure of inflation among members of the Federal Reserve.

Focusing on Australia, inflation is the big-ticket item on the local economic calendar this week, with the numbers expected to show a notable uptick. Economists anticipate that the year-on-year reading for the second-quarter could nudge 4%, albeit the reference period last year was subdued on account of sweeping lockdowns across the country after the pandemic first hit our shores.



Stocks on watch

More than 150 companies among the S&P 500 will report this week, but the biggest names on watch will be the heavyweight tech stocks, such as Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL), Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). The tech sector was up 2.8% last week, and running into a highly-anticipated earnings period, the strength of these stocks may give indications of lofty expectations and high growth already priced into the value of these stocks.

It isn’t just tech names set to report in the US, however, as results also come from consumer-oriented stocks like Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), industrials Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), payments companies Visa (NYSE: V), PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) and MasterCard (NYSE: MA), energy majors Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), plus pharma giants Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and Merck (NYSE: MRK).

Closer to home, there are a swathe of smaller-cap companies that will release their quarterly cash flow and activities reports, which could lead to plenty of action in that section of the market.

It is likely to be the larger resource names vying for attention, however, as the remainder of last week’s iron ore, energy and gold stocks detail their quarterly results. Headlining this lot is Fortescue Metals Group (ASX: FMG), with the nation’s third-largest iron ore miner reporting on Thursday. Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) will also deliver its half-year earnings, albeit a prelude has been provided when it recently released its quarterly production report.

Stocks entering the new week on a high include Wesfarmers (ASX: WES), Mineral Resources (ASX: MIN), Pilbara Minerals (ASX: PLS), Iluka Resources (ASX: ILU) and Whitehaven Coal (ASX: WHC), which each touched a yearly-high last week.


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