Various pieces of information will be revealed this week that will provide a peek into the world of the U.S. consumer.
Hewlett-Packard and Dell Computer, two bellwether makers of consumer electronics, will report earnings Thursday. Analysts expect HP to post a profit of 4 cents a share for its third fiscal quarter compared with 49 cents a year ago, according to First Call.
Wall Street estimates that Dell will make 16 cents for the second quarter compared with 22 cents last year.
Economists will also be watching for consumer data from the government. The Consumer Price Index tracks inflation pressure for retail and consumer goods, while data on housing starts indicates the willingness of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Consumer to spend money on high-priced items.
Finally, retail sales figures from the Commerce Department will show how the U.S. retail industry fared in July.
Other events scheduled this week:
- ElectroniCast will hold a conference on start-up and emerging optical-equipment companies at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston, Aug. 13-14. The event features presentations by executives from OMM, Onetta, and Lightconnect.
- Equity research and investment banking firm Pacific Crest will hold its e.Conference at the Sonnenalp Resort in Vail, Colo., Aug. 12-15. The conference will focus on how the Internet is changing business practices and include presentations from companies like eBay, Intuit, Palm, PeopleSoft, Inktomi, Vitesse Semiconductor, and DoubleClick.
- Opticon2001 takes place at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, Calif., Aug. 13-16. The event is for executives from telecom carrier companies as well as optical-component and equipment makers who want to learn more about issues affecting the communications industry. Keynote speakers include New Focus Chairman Milton Chang, Sigma Networks Chairman Reed Hundt and Ciena Chief Executive Patrick Nettles.
- Siggraph 2001 takes place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles, Aug. 12-17. The event will focus on areas related to computer graphics including animation, art, computer games and Web content.
- Microsoft will sponsor Conference.Net at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, Aug. 13-15. The event is for software developers who want to learn about the company's .Net Internet software. Keynote speakers include David Chappell, head of IT consulting firm Chappell & Associates as well as Microsoft's Brian Harry and Scott Guthrie.
- The USENIX Security Symposium takes place at the JW Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C., Aug. 13-17. The gathering will focus on issues related to computer security and features a keynote speech by Richard M. Smith, chief technology officer of the Privacy Foundation.
- Active Communications International will host the Wireless Medical Summit at the Adam's Mark Hotel in Denver, Aug. 14-15. The event will address how doctors, nurses and other professionals can use mobile software and devices to access information systems at hospitals or other medical institutions.
- Active Communications will kick off a conference at the Sheraton Towers in Chicago, Aug. 14-16. The event will cover how insurance companies and agents can use technology to enhance their business.
- Marcus Evans will host a conference on network convergence at the Westin Fairfax in Washington D.C., Aug. 14-16. The event is for telecommunications industry professionals and will cover trends in data network design. Representatives from Broadwing Communications, Net2Phone, Sprint, and BellSouth will make presentations.
- The Embedded Internet Conference takes place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, Calif., Aug. 14-16. According to the Web site, the term "embedded Internet" refers to the use of the Internet to help monitor and control factory machinery, communications equipment, medical equipment, set-top boxes, office machines and other electronic equipment. Keynote speakers include Gary Saunders, a vice president of business development at National Semiconductor.
- Internet.com will host Search Engine Strategies 2001 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, Aug. 16-17. The event is for people interested in search engine technology and its importance to Web sites.
- Active Communications International will conduct its Sports on the Net conference at the Westin River North in Chicago, Aug. 16-17. The event is geared towards operators of sports Web sites who want to expand their ticket sales, sponsorships, merchandise and advertising revenue. Representatives from the National Football League, NBA Entertainment, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League will make keynote speeches.
Tuesday, Aug. 14
- Liberty Media owns stakes in several cable channels. Per-share consensus estimate for the second quarter: loss of 4 cents.
- Adelphia Communications operates a cable network mostly in the United States. Per-share consensus estimate for the second quarter: loss of $1.36.
- CheckFree makes banking and financial software. Per-share consensus estimate for the fourth fiscal quarter: loss of 2 cents.
- Applied Materials makes manufacturing equipment for chipmakers. Per-share consensus estimate for the third fiscal quarter: profit of 3 cents.
- BEA Systems develops e-commerce software. Per-share consensus estimate for the second quarter: profit of 9 cents.
- Network Appliance manufactures equipment for computer data storage networks. Per-share consensus estimate for the first fiscal quarter: profit of 1 cent.
- 24/7 Media provides advertising content for Web sites. Per-share consensus estimate for the second quarter: loss of 47 cents.
- Brocade Communications makes switches and connection equipment for computer data-storage networks. Per-share consensus estimate for the third fiscal quarter: profit of 5 cents.
- HP is one of the largest makers of computer hardware in the world. Per-share consensus estimate for the third fiscal quarter: profit of 4 cents.
- Ciena makes optical-communications equipment for telecom networks. Per-share consensus estimate for the third fiscal quarter: profit of 17 cents.
- Analog Devices makes chips for computer, communications, industrial and other kinds of equipment. Per-share consensus estimate for the third fiscal quarter: profit of 17 cents.
- Dell is a direct seller of PCs. Per-share consensus estimate for the second quarter: profit of 16 cents.
Tuesday, Aug. 14
- Retail Sales for the month of July are expected to fall 0.2 percent compared with June's gain of 0.2 percent as reported by the Commerce Department. Excluding automobile sales, Wall Street expects retail sales to climb 0.1 percent vs. the previous month's drop of 0.2 percent.
- Industrial Production represents the monthly percentage change in industrial output as measured by the Federal Reserve. The number measures the physical quantity of items produced, unlike sales value, which combines quantity and price. Economists expect production to decrease by 0.3 percent in July compared with last month's drop of 0.7 percent.
- Business Inventories represents the percentage change in the amount of goods in inventory in the United States as reported by the Department of Commerce. Wall Street predicts that this number will fall 0.3 percent in June vs. no change in May.
- The monthly Capacity Utilization report from the Federal Reserve indicates the percentage of industrial capacity in use. Wall Street expects the number to fall to 76.6 percent in July from the previous month's 77.0 percent.
- Initial Claims refers to the number of people who filed for unemployment benefits each week as reported by the Department of Labor. Claims will be reported for the week of Aug. 11.
- Economists predict no change in the Consumer Price Index in July, compared with June's rise of 0.2 percent. The core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, is expected to rise 0.2 percent from June's 0.3 percent increase. This Labor Department index tracks the change in prices at the consumer level.
- The commencement of construction on new homes, known as Housing Starts, is expected to fall to 1.625 million in July from 1.658 million in June, as reported by the Department of Commerce. Economists use this statistic to gauge the health of consumer spending on large items in the economy.
- The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's monthly Business Outlook Survey is a survey of manufacturers in the Third Federal Reserve District that tracks the direction of change in overall business activity at their plants. Wall Street expects the index to rise to negative 10 for the month of August. Last month, business activity fell to negative 12.2.
- The Trade Balance, or the value of U.S. imports subtracted from exports, is expected to widen to a deficit of -$29.5 billion in June from -$28.3 billion in May as reported monthly by the Commerce Department.