US stocks to open down on slow-down fears with Wal-Mart earnings ahead

Better than expected earnings from Dow-component Cisco hasn’t helped US markets as they look set to open lower, concerns of a US slowdown triggered a triple-digit decline in the benchmark US index yesterday. Futures suggest the S&P500 will open 3 points lower at 1,885 with the Dow Jones expected to open 14 points lower at 16,600. As we reflected yesterday, a round number in the S&P 500 like 1900 will cause investors to reassess their asset allocations. GDP growth of 0.1% in Q1 followed by a big drop in retail sales at the beginning of Q2 has led to concerns over US growth. This was seen reflected in the price of the US 10-year note moving above its 200 day moving average meaning a drop in yields. A further move down in yields is a natural symptom of investor caution and expectations of continued low interest rates in the US. Macy’s ended up lower yesterday despite earnings beating expectations as same store sales dropped on the year. It could be a similar picture for the company with revenues bigger than most counties, Wal-Mart. The world’s biggest retailer is expected to report earnings of 1.15 per share on revenue of $116.27bn. As discounting continues amidst a tepid consumer environment, Wal-Mart is not as relatively cheap as it might otherwise be to customers so earnings and revenues are expected to be only just higher than last year. Wal-Mart maybe better positioned than some its peers though following the news that its online sales growth outpaced that of Amazon last year. If the company can make back the lost market share online it may be able to outperform the retail sector. A concern is that the stock price is under performing the DJIA having not posted a new high this year perhaps pointing to difficult times post-earnings release.