Stock investors are looking ahead at one of the busiest weeks of the year. In fact, some bulls are said to be booking profits ahead of barrage of headlines. Not only do we have the highly anticipated Fed FOMC meeting Tuesday and Wednesday, but we also have central bank announcements coming from the European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday morning, and an announcement by the Bank of Japan (BOJ) by weekend.

The market will also be digesting a ton of global inflation numbers late next week. Here at home, traders are going to be heavily focused on Tuesday's updated Consumer Confidence numbers and Thursday's release of US Q2 GDP.

The trade is also eager to see a wave of US corporate earnings. Needless to say, big tech Q2 results and outlooks for the quarters ahead will be one of the main highlights next week. Google-parent Alphabet and Microsoft report on Tuesday, Meta on Wednesday, and Amazon on Thursday.

Other key results will include Domino's Pizza, NXP Semiconductors, Packaging Corp. of America, Ryanair, and Whirlpool on Monday; 3M, ADM, Albertsons, Chubb, Dow, General Electric, KimberlyClark, NextEra Energy, Nucor, Raytheon Technologies, Sherwin Williams, Snap, Texas Instruments, Verizon, and Visa on Tuesday; AT&T, Boeing, CME Group, Coca-Cola, eBay, Edwards Lifesciences, Old Dominion, O'Reilly Automotive, Thermo-Fisher Scientific, and Union Pacific on Wednesday; AbbVie, Boston Scientific, Bristol Myers Squibb, Carrier Global, Comcast, Deckers Outdoor, Ford, Hershey, Honeywell, Intel, KLA, Live Nation, Mastercard, McDonald's, Northrop Grumman, Royal Caribbean, Southwest Airlines, Texas Roadhouse, Tractor Supply, and Valero on Thursday; and Astra Zeneca, Chevron, ColgatePalmolive, Exxon Mobil, Procter & Gamble, and T. Rowe Price on Friday.

Like I said, a ton of big earnings are scheduled to be released next week. The Fed is widely expected to announce a 25-basis point hike but investors are really more interested in the central bank's outlook for future moves. Bottom line, next week is going to be jam packed full of market moving headlines.

Investors and traders that have made big returns this year seem happy to trim a little bit of length and to bank some profits.

I'm going to be keeping an eye on China and Taiwan. If you recall, it was in August of last year that the Chinese military staged large-scale war games around Taiwan. There's a chance we could see some fireworks again this August as China is already saying it's a "priority" to stop Taiwan's vice president and presidential frontrunner William Lai from visiting the United States next month.

Remember, Taiwan will hold presidential and parliamentary elections in January, with Lai, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party's (DPP) presidential candidate, the frontrunner in most opinion polls. Many say the Chinese government is looking for a conflict as a way to try and spark Nationalism and reunite their country and also create a distraction from the problems that have arisen inside their own domestic borders. Time will tell...

June Home Sales Drop to the Slowest Pace in 14 Years: June home sales were -18.9% lower compared with last June. That is the slowest sales pace for June since 2009. The continued weakness in the housing market is not for lack of demand. It’s all about a critical shortage of supply. There were just 1.08 million homes for sale at the end of June, 13.6% less than June of 2022. That dynamic is keeping pressure under home prices. The median price of an existing home sold in June was $410,200, the second-highest price ever recorded by the Realtors. As the competition heats up, buyers are increasingly using cash to win over sellers. All-cash sales made up 26% of June transactions, slightly higher than both May and June of last year Source CNBC

Aldene's newest single recently released is creating controversy across the country. In fact, CMT has now pulled the music video from its rotation. The network stopped showing the music video after Aldean, who survived a mass shooting while he performed in 2017, faced backlash for the song, which many perceived as being in favor of gun violence and lynching. "Cuss out a cop, spit in his face / Stomp on the flag and light it up / Yeah, ya think you're tough / Well, try that in a small town / See how far ya make it down the road / Around here, we take care of our own / You cross that line, it won't take long / For you to find out, I recommend you don't / Try that in a small town,” Aldean sings. In response to all of the criticism Aldene released a statement, he said: "When u grow up in a small town, it's that unspoken rule of 'we all have each other's backs and we look out for each other.' It feels like somewhere along the way, that sense of community and respect has gotten lost. Deep down, we are all ready to get back to that. I hope my new music video helps y'all know that u are not alone in feeling that way. Go check it out!". I personally think this is all crazy. Keep in mind, many of the people bitching and complaining about this video are the same people who were adamantly against the censoring of some of the violent rap videos and other music extremes. I just don't see how this video is anywhere near as extreme as what is currently allowed and promoted across our nation in other genres of music. I just wish more people with a platform like Jason Aldene would stand up for what they believe is right. I think so many are afraid of the "cancel culture". I believe in freedom of speech and expression on both sides. It's what our forefathers fought and many gave their lives for! We need to respect each other based on our strings of commonality rather than trying to hurt or "cancel" one another based solely on our differences. Unfortunately, we have allowed computers and algorithms to divide us into groups based on what we are individually "against" rather than focusing on the things that can collectively bring us together such as love for family, community, freedom, etc..Click HERE to see the video that is creating all the controversy.

Federal Reserve Platform to Bring Instant Payments to More Banks: After a decade of study and development, the Federal Reserve yesterday finally launched FedNow, a system that could eventually mean businesses and consumers have near instant access to payments (including paychecks) and money moved between financial accounts. Back in 2017, The Clearing House, a consortium of the nation’s largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, rolled out its own high speed money transfer system, the Real Time Payments Network (RTP). But so far the volume of money RTP is moving is comparatively miniscule. In the first quarter, $26 billion was transferred over RTP, equal to 0.13% of the $19.7 trillion sent over the nation’s dominant Automated Clearing House, which takes between one to three business days to move money. Another $277 billion was sent in the first quarter over FedWire, a Federal Reserve run service for one-time wire transfers. Industry experts predict that more banks and credit unions will now sign up for FedNow and that the existence of two competing systems–known in payment speak as “rails”—will speed innovation and the widespread adoption of instant payments in the U.S., a relative laggard when compared to Europe, India and Brazil. Source Forbes

Facing Big Storm Losses, Insurers Aim to Boost Rates: A wave of severe storms that brought hail and high winds to places such as Texas and a string of states in the central U.S. in recent months is wreaking havoc on insurers’ profits. Auto- and home-insurers, already struggling with rising repair and replacement costs, are expected to keep boosting premiums to offset the big upturn in weather-related losses. Bellwether insurer Travelers on Thursday said “numerous severe wind and hail storms in multiple states” sent it into the red in the three months through June. The company reported a near-doubling of catastrophe losses to $1.5 billion for the second quarter, up from $746 million for the same period last year. Allstate announced Thursday catastrophe losses of more than $1 billion for last month, pushing its tally for the second quarter to $2.7 billion. That is more than twice the $1.1 billion total for the same period last year. The number of weather events causing severe insurance losses in the past two years has been the highest since at least 2010, according to BMS, which analyzes weather patterns for insurers. The losses were higher this year likely because of the impact of inflation. Another factor on losses is whether the storms hit populated areas. Source WSJ

America Is Barreling Toward a Summer of Strikes: More than 650,000 American workers are threatening to go on strike this summer — or have already done so — in an avalanche of union activity not seen in the US in decades. The combined actors and writers strikes in Hollywood are already a once-in-a-generation event. Unions for United Parcel Service Inc. and Detroit’s Big Three automakers are poised to join them in coming weeks if contract negotiations fall through. One Bank of America Corp. analyst put the odds of a United Auto Workers strike at more than 90%. And while logistics experts and financial analysts expected the Teamsters to reach a deal with UPS, their confidence has dwindled as the July 31 deadline approaches. “This will be the biggest moment of striking, really, since the 1970s,” said labor historian Nelson Lichtenstein, who directs the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy. Even before the 100,000-plus actors joined in last week, both the number of strikes and workers on strike were up in the first half of this year, according to Bloomberg Law labor data. Similar trends are playing out in other countries: A cost-of-living crisis has unions across Europe flexing their muscles, with the the UK losing the most working days to strikes in decades Source Bloomberg

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