GDP, Nike Earnings, and Christmas — 5 Things to Watch in the Week Ahead

December 20, 2015, 3:00 PM UTC
Customers pass the sign indicating the opening of their Chri
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 02: Customers pass the sign indicating the opening of their Christmas section inside a Super Wal-Mart in Thornton, Colorado, on Friday, Nov. 2, 2007. Today marked the first day of holiday shopping for Wal-Mart customers with the opening of the Christmas shop. (Photo by Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Matthew Staver—Bloomberg Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

The long holiday shopping season wraps up this week with Christmas falling on Friday. The stock market will look to bounce back during what could be a slow holiday week after a volatile reaction to last week’s Fed announcement that left stocks falling to end the week. A handful of economic reports will drop this week, including a final GDP report for the third quarter, while sportswear giant Nike reports its latest quarterly earnings and a blockbuster movie will look to continue dominating in movie theaters.

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

1. Stock market looks to rebound

U.S. stocks initially spiked on Wednesday afternoon following the Federal Reserve’s long-awaited interest rate hike announcement. But, investors apparently had a change of heart as they ended the week with three-digit Dow Jones losses on both Thursday and Friday. Markets will start winding down this week with the Fed’s rate hike in the rear-view mirror and the end of the year nearing. Without at least a modest rebound over the final two weeks of December, U.S. stocks will record their first yearly decline since 2011. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down nearly 700 points on the year and the S&P 500 is down more than 2.5%, while the Nasdaq composite is the only major index still in the black for 2015.

2. U.S. GDP

The Commerce Department will issue its final report on gross domestic product for the third quarter on Tuesday. Economists expect that the U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in the last quarter, which is down from the government’s previous estimate of 2.1%. Also on Tuesday, a new housing report is expected to show that existing home sales increased by 0.5% in November after dropping by 3.4% in the previous month.


3. Earnings: Nike, ConAgra

Sportswear giant Nike (NKE) reports second-quarter results on Tuesday and the company is expected to reveal profits and revenue that outpace Wall Street’s estimates. Nike and CEO Mark Parker (Fortune‘s 2015 Businessperson of the Year) recently said it expects its sales growth over the next five years to be greater than the previous five years’ growth. Meanwhile, packaged foods company ConAgra Foods (CAG), which makes products like Slim Jim beef jerky and Chef Boyardee pasta, is expected to report disappointing second-quarter sales numbers on Tuesday. ConAgra said in October that it would cut 1,500 jobs and move its headquarters to Chicago from Omaha in order to cut costs. Investors will also want to hear any updates on the company’s plan to sell its private label foods business to TreeHouse Foods for $2.5 billion.

4. Star Wars box office receipts

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened nationwide over the weekend after setting a record with $57 million in domestic box office gross on Thursday night alone. The highly-anticipated sci-fi sequel from Walt Disney (DIS) has a shot at breaking the record for biggest opening weekend ever—a mark set just this year with Jurassic World‘s $208 million opening. Star Wars will look to continue bringing in hordes of moviegoers during the holiday week, when a new slate of films will hit theaters on Christmas day.

5. Holiday shopping season winds down

With Christmas on Friday, consumers only have a few more days to shop for the holidays. Retail sales were up 3% in November, when the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear, but that increase was lower than analysts had expected. The nation’s retailers have reacted by offering deeper discounts as time runs out to court shoppers before the holidays. Several major retailers also participated in Free Shipping Day on Friday, where shoppers were treated to free shipping on online orders in an attempt to spur a spike in sales.


Reuters contributed to this post.

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