US markets to open lower starting another big week for big-box retailers

Weak China housing data overnight is setting US markets up for a lower open today following a negative week for the S&P 500 and the Dow as investors start to doubt the economic recovery in the US and Europe. More big-box retailers are set to release earnings this week after a poor start from Wal-Mart. Futures suggest the S&P500 will open 7 points lower at 1,870 with the Dow Jones expected to open 14 points lower at 16,432. Wal-Mart was partly responsible for the negative performance of the Dow last week but things were looking a bit better with a surprise turnaround from JC Penny on Friday as losses narrowed more than expected. Nordstrom at the other end of the retail spectrum also beat expectations. This week sees earnings from American Eagle, Best buy, Home depot, Staples and Target with Urban Outfitters reporting today. Urban Outfitters are expected to earn 27c per share on revenue of $680.61m. The company beat lowered expectations last quarter. The stock has taken a tumble from its high just below $45 and is hovering around its 200 day average at $36. The decline in earnings has been blamed on a secular change in teen fashion spending. This may be the case with Abercrombie and Fitch but with UO it is possibly more to do with product execution. If this is the case, the company has a lot more control over its own destiny and as long as the US consumer can hold up, more potential to surprise on the upside in this and subsequent quarters.