Stocks, Retail Sales, and Singles Day — 5 Things to Know This Week

Stock specialists work at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.
Stock specialists work at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the closing bell August10, 2011. US stocks plummeted over four percent Wednesday, more than wiping out the gains of Tuesday's rebound as European debt troubles and worries of a new US recession kept investors nervous. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 519.83 points (4.62 percent) to 10,719.94 at closing, compared to its 430-point gain on Tuesday. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Photograph by Stan Honda — AFP/Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

It will be interesting to watch how the stock market starts off the week after an exceptionally strong October jobs report came out on Friday. Meanwhile, more economic data, including U.S. retail sales, will arrive this week and could move the market. A handful of department store operators report their sales results from the latest quarter this week, while Viacom will try to buck the trend of media giants reporting disappointing earnings. And, China’s biggest e-commerce day of the year arrives midway through the week as part of the country’s celebration of single life.

Here’s what you need to know for the week ahead.

1. Stock market reacts to strong jobs report

U.S. stocks were mostly mixed to end Friday following a stronger than expected October jobs report, but the market still managed to secure its sixth straight week of gains. It will be interesting to see how investors react to the impressive job growth recorded last month over the course of the upcoming week, as the labor market’s marked improvement makes it more likely that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates before the end of the year, which could spark investor concerns over weaker market conditions. With stocks currently getting closer to the all-time highs hit earlier this year, it’s possible there could be some market retreat as investors show more caution ahead of a likely rate hike.

2. Economic data: retail sales, PPI

On Friday, the Commerce Department reports U.S. retail sales for the month of October, when retail sales likely increased 0.3%. That’s low, but still an improvement over the weak 0.1% growth from September. Also on Friday, the Labor Department puts out the producer price index (PPI) for October, which is expected to have gained 0.2% last month after a 0.5% dip in September. Also, recent stock gains are likely to result in increased consumer sentiment, with the University of Michigan expected to report that its index rose to 91.5 this month from October’s 90.

3. Department stores report Q3 results

Macy’s (M) and Kohl’s (KSS) both report their third-quarter earnings on Thursday and both department store operators are likely to post sales results that fall short of Wall Street’s forecasts on account of the strong U.S. dollar as well as unseasonably warm weather that resulted in customers putting off purchases of cold weather items. Meanwhile, rival JC Penney (JCP), which reports its quarterly results on Friday, likely saw enough of a benefit from increased Sephora outlet sales to outweigh the negative impact of warmer weather.
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4. Viacom earnings

The operator of Comedy Central and MTV networks reports fourth-quarter results Thursday, with Viacom (VIA) expected to post profit that falls short of Wall Street’s expectations. The company’s cable business saw lower advertising revenue due to customers shifting to online streaming options. Last week, Time Warner’s (DISH) weak forecast set off an industry-wide sell-off of media stocks as investors showed concern over the cord-cutting movement. Meanwhile, satellite television provider Dish Network (DISH) is expected to beat analysts’ forecasts for profit and revenue when it reports third-quarter earnings on Monday.

5. Singles Day in China

Single people in China will celebrate on Wednesday, when Singles Day marks the country’s biggest spending day of the year, particularly for online shopping. The annual e-commerce bonanza is known as an “anti-Valentine’s Day” in the country and a slew of online bargains attract web shoppers, with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA) racking up a record $9.3 billion in sales last year in just 24 hours. The competition among retailers is fierce, though, with smaller rival (JD) recently accusing Alibaba and its subsidiaries of misleading advertising and of forcing retailers to promote only Alibaba’s sales.

—Reuters contributed to this post.

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