New York City may be frying in near record temperatures but Wall Street has been feeling the heat for months. Wrangling over the US debt ceiling and question marks over corporate earnings mean markets are unlikely to get a break any time soon.
Wall Street is set to close its worst three months in a year as July draws to a close next week after a roller coaster ride for markets. Whacked out fund managers hitting the beach in August may find themselves fiddling with their BlackBerrys more than the little umbrella in their cocktails.
"I need a vacation, man. After all the stuff that's happened in the last three months I'm pretty much shot, I'm getting weird, even my six-year-old looks at me," said one New Jersey-based fund manager, who was packing his bags for a destination in the Caribbean as temperatures topped 37.7 degrees Celsius in New York City.
With Eurozone leaders having reached a deal for yet another bailout for debt-laden Greece, investors will be free to chew over the rancour in Washington with even more attention.
Negotiations between President Barack Obama and the top Republican in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, still looked far from a deal to avert a looming US default, lawmakers said on Friday, raising the likelihood of more volatility next week if no solution is reached over the weekend.
"It's likely an agreement in any form will cause a relief rally for equities," said Glenn Starkman, global head of sales trading at Dahlman Rose in New York. "Coming on the heels of overall pretty good earnings numbers and some sort of resolution in Greece and that could make for a rally in the market," he said.
But on the other side of the coin, the prolonged and partisan dispute over solving the country's debt crisis means there is still a big downside risk. "Who knows where that is going to go," said Nick Kalivas, an analyst at MF Global in Chicago.
"We're vulnerable to a buyers' strike if we don't get any news."
In addition, the corporate earnings season suggests other risks could dog the market. Despite generally good results so far, there have been some worrisome signs. The S&P 500 rallied six per cent in the run-up to reporting season, but earnings misses from big industrial names like Rockwell Collins and Caterpillar weighed on the Dow and S&P 500 on Friday.
Earlier in the week several big consumer names such as Whirlpool and Pepsi warned about sluggishness in developed markets, sending their shares sharply lower.
"The market still has a high degree of scepticism in it," said Kalivas, summing up the earnings season so far.
Kalivas said he will be closely following earnings from sector and economic bellwethers next week. Those include the package delivery company UPS, chipmaker Texas Instruments, and online retailer Amazon.
Around 30 per cent of the S&P 500's $12.3 trillion (Dh45.1 trillion) market cap have reported earnings so far. They have outpaced consensus estimates by 3.8 per cent, and only seven per cent have missed estimates, according to data from Morgan Stanley.
But share prices of those that have fallen short of estimates have taken a severe beating. Given the fragile sentiment a few more prominent misses could derail the market.
From / Gulf News