Hello friends and Fortune readers.
The first week of November brings yet another batch of earnings with it. Look out for what movie studios may be saying as they head into the holidays and award season talk starts to heat up. 21st Century Fox (FOX) reports on Tuesday. Also on the docket are food companies including Whole Foods (WFM), Mondelez (MDLZ) and Burger King (BKW).
There’s also yet more economic data to come out following last week’s revelation that the U.S. economy grew faster in the third quarter than economists expected.
Good luck running off your sugar hangover from the Halloween holiday–here’s what to watch out for in the week ahead.
1. Is Elon Musk just blowing smoke or are Tesla’s sales booming?
Tesla CEO Elon Musk got into a social media tiff with a Wall Street Journal reporter who said that the company’s sales were down year-over-year. Musk said the claim was wrong and insisted September were a record-high sales month for Tesla.
The electric car company only reports sales quarterly, not monthly like typical auto manufacturers. Tesla reports its quarterly earnings–and with it sales numbers–on Wednesday. Analysts expect an earnings-per-share loss of 34 cents on revenues of $884 million.
2. The economy is improving, how about the jobs situation?
The U.S. economy grew faster last quarter – 3.5% – than economists had predicted, and the Federal Reserve seems to be feeling better about the improvements as it puts an end to the third round of quantitative easing. Jobs are still teetering towards a full recovery after the unemployment rate fell below 6% for the first time in September.
Economists anticipated that the jobs situation to continued to improve slightly last month, though slower than in September. The median expectation is an addition of 228,000 private-sector jobs in October, 20,000 lower than the month prior, while the unemployment rate holds steady at 5.9%.
3. Americans love their cars. October vehicle sales will tell if they’re out shopping or new ones.
Automakers release their monthly sales numbers for October on Monday morning, and it looks like this year is even rosier than last. JP Morgan Chase expects U.S. sales of light vehicles to hit 16.3 million for the month, a 7% boost compared to the year earlier month. While the number is not much changed from September, the total sales number is good considering incentives were down last month, which is a typical September-to-October pattern, JP Morgan said.
General Motors (GM) is expected to report a strong October–an estimated 2.5% sales gain year-over-year–due to a pickup in sales of light trucks. Ford (F), on the other hand, was hindered by the growing truck sales due to inventory constraints. The company’s October sales are expected to be down 2% year-over-year.
4. NewLink Genetics and the future of an Ebola vaccine.
NewLink Genetics is one of at least six companies moving forward with fast-track testing of experimental Ebola vaccines. The Ames, Iowa-based biotech is launching trials of its vaccine in Liberia and Sierra Leone along with GlaxoSmithKline come January. NewLink is hoping that the vaccine will be ready for real-world use as soon as next spring. The traditionally media-shy company said it could have as many as 12 million doses of the vaccine ready by April–that would surpass GSK’s expected 230,000 doses by that date.
Look out for an update on the vaccine’s progress when NewLink reports its earnings on Thursday. Analysts expect a profit loss of 40 cents a share on sales of $310,000.
5. Anna and Elsa head into the holidays. See what Disney has to say about it.
Walt Disney (DIS) has been hard at work. The company’s latest feature film, “Big Hero 6,” hits theaters this coming Friday, Nov. 7, and it recently announced a 10-year expansion of its Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea themeparks. Disney will also look to cash in on sales of Frozen products during this upcoming holiday season, which weren’t available in time for Christmas last year. All of this adds up to a good outlook for the company, whose stock has already had a stellar year. Its shares have climbed 17% in the year to date, surpassing the S&P 500’s 9% gain over the same period.
Disney’s stock may get another boost after it reports on Thursday. Analyst expect record earnings for the quarter of $12.4 billion in sales resulting in profits of 88 cents a share.