December Jobs, CES, and Gun Laws—5 Things to Watch in the Week Ahead

January 3, 2016, 3:06 PM UTC
Obama Speaks Before Leaving COP21
PARIS, FRANCE - DECEMBER 01: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the OECD Conference Centre before leaving the Conference On Climate Change COP21 on December 1, 2015 in Paris, France. Obama spoke about the economic impact of global warming and security risks before flying back to Washington. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Photograph by Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images

Hello friends and Fortune readers.

This will be the first full week of 2016, which means new hope for investors after the stock market’s disappointing finish to the previous year. There’s at least hope that a strong monthly jobs report will help the week end on a high note for the economy, while a handful of companies reporting quarterly earnings could help spur market growth with positive results. Meanwhile, a big tech trade show kicks off in Las Vegas this week and President Obama is expected to sign executive orders meant to tighten firearms restrictions.

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

1. A New Year for stocks

Markets open again on Monday for the first time in 2016 after an uninspiring finish to the previous year. U.S. stocks saw their worst overall annual losses since 2008, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 2015 down 2.2% while the benchmark S&P 500 finished down 0.7%. Only the tech-focused Nasdaq composite ended the year in the black, gaining 5.7%. With the Federal Reserve’s long-awaited interest rate hike finally in the books, there could be slightly less market uncertainty to begin the year, and a strong monthly jobs report at the end of the week could help the stock market get off to a good start to 2016.

2. December jobs report

The Labor Department is likely to report that U.S. employers added roughly 200,000 jobs in December, while the unemployment rate is expected to remain steady at 5%. That would represent a solid increase, though it would still fall just short of the 211,000 jobs the economy added in November. The expected gains for December would push the annual total of new jobs to roughly 2.5 million after the economy added more than 3 million jobs in 2014.

3. Earnings: Monsanto, Walgreens

Seed and agrichemical giant Monsanto (MON) on Wednesday is expected to report an earnings loss for the first quarter of its fiscal year. The company said in November that it could lose as much as 33 cents per share for the quarter due to sluggish corn seed sales and restructuring costs. Meanwhile, Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA), the country’s biggest drugstore operator, is expected to report first-quarter sales that fall short of Wall Street’s expectations. Investors will be interested to hear any updates on the company’s planned $9.4 billion acquisition of smaller rival Rite Aid (RAD), which still awaits approval from antitrust regulators. Other companies reporting quarterly earnings this week include alcoholic beverage company Constellation Brands (STZ) and retailer Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY).

4. CES

The Consumer Electronics Show, the annual trade show for tech gadgets, kicks off in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The three-day confab, hosted by the Consumer Technology Association, will feature keynote addresses from notable tech CEOs such as Intel’s (INTC) Brian Krzanich, Netflix’s (NFLX) Reed Hastings, IBM’s (IBM) Ginni Rometty, and General Motors’ (GM) Mary Barra. Fortune‘s editors will also be in attendance at the trade show this week, covering the new products on hand while also interviewing tech executives from the Fortune 500, such as Salesforce’s (CRM) Marc Benioff.

3. Obama pushes gun control measures

President Obama reportedly will move forward with a series of planned executive orders this week aimed at curbing gun violence in the U.S. The orders, which come in the wake of a growing number of mass shootings in the country, would require stricter restrictions on firearms, including requiring more gun-sellers to have licenses and perform background checks on customers.

— Reuters contributed to this post.

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