This Week in the Stock Market: Apple Reports Earnings, Beyond Meat Goes Public
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"It’s a big week for earnings. We’ll hear from about 150 companies in the S&P 500 about how their businesses performed in the first quarter—and their forecasts for the remainder of the year."

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Welcome to Markets on Monday, where we preview what's going on in the stock market this week.

The S&P 500 is coming into the week on a high, after setting an all-time record last week. From a flurry of corporate earnings to a new publicly traded company, here’s what investors will be chewing on this week:

Earnings

It’s a big week for earnings. We’ll hear from about 150 companies in the S&P 500 about how their businesses performed in the first quarter—and their forecasts for the remainder of the year. During this multiweek period known as earnings season, investors pore over these reports on corporate profit to determine how to evaluate a stock’s price.

On the docket this week? Google’s parent company Alphabet is scheduled to report results on Monday, followed by other big companies like Apple and General Electric later in the week. So far, earnings results have been broadly better than analyst estimates, which helped propel the S&P 500 to new highs last week. We could see another boost this week if the trend continues.

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Jobs

If you’re looking for economists’ version of a spectator sport, tune into the financial news at 8:30 a.m. EST this Friday. That’s when the Department of Labor will report how many workers U.S. employers added to their payrolls in April.

Professional investors monitor all sorts of economic data, but the monthly jobs report is an important indicator of the overall health of the U.S. economy. And while some people worry another recession could be imminent, things actually seem OK lately. A report last week showed the U.S. economy had its best start to a year in four years, as the economy grew at a better-than-expected pace in the first quarter.

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Federal Reserve

Federal Reserve policymakers meet eight times a year to determine whether they should raise (or lower) interest rates. One such meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday and Wednesday.

Investors don’t expect that central bankers will make any change to rates this week, and the Fed has announced it won’t increase interest rates this year. Still, investors will scrutinize messages from policymakers to try to predict the Fed’s next steps.

New highs

Midway into Monday’s trading day and the S&P 500 already surpassed its all-time high from Friday. There could be new records set this week, which may tempt you to sell some investments, but it’s actually a great time to run a quick checkup on your portfolio instead.

IPO

From Lyft to Levi Strauss to Pinterest, it’s been a busy year for initial public offerings—when companies first offer shares to potential investors on an exchange. On the menu this week is Beyond Meat, which makes plant-based meat substitutes for burgers that are sold at restaurant chains like TGI Friday’s and Carl’s Jr. The stock is expected to debut on Thursday with a price between $19 and $21 per share. IPOs can lure in new investors, but they can also take riders on a bumpy ride, as Lyft has shown (the stock is down about 25% since its debut). In fact, most IPOs lose money for investors after five years.

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