The Week Ahead on Wall Street

Economic News

On Wednesday, be on the lookout for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to release job opening numbers for July. In June the US had 10.1 million job openings as businesses struggled to find workers. Investors will be paying close attention to July’s release to see if the worker shortages are beginning to abate.

On Thursday, initial and existing unemployment claims for the week prior are released. The unemployment picture has been steadily improving in recent weeks despite rising COVID-19 cases. Any uptick in unemployment numbers could raise concerns that the Delta variant is starting to impact the recovery.

On Friday, the Producer Price Index for August is released. This data point tracks the change in prices that domestic producers get for their goods. In July, the Producer Price Index lodged its biggest year-over-year gain in over 10 years. If this number is even higher for August, it could raise more inflation concerns. Also Friday, the revised number for wholesale inventories in July is released.

Earnings Reports

There are no major earnings reports slated to be released today.

On Wednesday, GameStop (GME) will report quarterly earnings. The meme stock skyrocketed earlier this year when retail investors joined forces to counter short sellers, betting on GameStop’s turnaround plans. Since then GameStop’s stock has fallen as investors have heard few details about its transformation under its new chairman, Ryan Cohen. The retailer’s last earnings conference call was brief.

Also Wednesday, Lululemon (LULU) reports quarterly earnings. One of the big winners of the pandemic, the stock has languished since setting new highs earlier in the year. That could reverse if the retailer meets Wall Street expectations for same-store sales to increase 36% in the quarter. Athleta, the workout brand owned by Gap (GPS), reported that net sales jumped 35% year-over-year in the second quarter, driven by demand for comfortable clothes.

On Thursday, Affirm (AFRM), the buy-now, pay-later startup, reported quarterly earnings. The company just announced a partnership with Amazon (AMZN), which sent its stock soaring. The ecommerce giant will allow customers to pay for items with interest-free installments through Affirm on purchases of $50 or more. Investors will undoubtedly want to hear more about the deal when Affirm reports earnings.

Also Thursday, teen-focused retailer Zumiez (ZUMZ) reports quarterly earnings. Zumiez is expected to be a big beneficiary of a strong back-to-school shopping season, driven by pent-up demand after last year’s shutdowns. However, that growth may have been hurt by the Delta variant of COVID-19. Investors will be paying close attention to Zumiez’s sales data.

To round out the week, Kroger (KR) reports quarterly earnings on Friday. The grocery-store chain has been a big beneficiary of the cook-at-home trend born out of the pandemic. But there are signs that pandemic growth is beginning to slow, even with the Delta variant spreading across the country. Investors will be paying close attention to what Kroger has to say about demand and COVID-19 when it reports earnings Friday.

The Week Ahead at SoFi

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ABOUT Meg Richardson Meg Richardson is a writer specializing in markets, technology, and personal finance. She loves breaking down seemingly complex ideas and making them readable and interesting for everyone. She holds an MFA in writing from Columbia University. When she is not writing about finance, she enjoys running in Central Park and drawing cartoons.

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