Wall St The Week Ahead: Facebook and Apple to report in busy week

THE FEDERAL Reserve meeting this week is not on the minds of as many people as when it last met in September, but its decision to do nothing last month is providing the fuel for more share gains in Apple and Facebook, which report results this week.

Facebook is only slightly off an all-time high, and Apple has recovered somewhat from losses earlier in the year after investors have poured money back into stocks, bringing the S&P to successive records that some say may not be supported by corporate results.

Nearly half of the S&P 500 companies have reported their third-quarter results so far, and 69 per cent have beaten estimates. The technology sector has led the way, beating expectations 84 per cent of the time. Amazon.com and Microsoft last week gave results which led the S&P to close at an all-time high of 1,759.79 on Friday.

About 24 per cent of S&P 500 companies will report their third-quarter earnings this week, among them heavy hitters such as General Motors and Visa.

In the energy sector, Exxon, Chevron and Valero will report.

ADP’s national employment report, due on Wednesday, will show the number of non-farm private sector jobs added to payrolls in October.

Meanwhile the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index, to be released tomorrow, will account for the government shutdown and reveal how big a hit US spending habits took as a result.

The Federal Reserve will hold its meeting tomorrow and Wednesday.