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Week Ahead: Eyeing Apple Earnings and the Fed

Jeremy Glaser

For Morningstar, I'm Jeremy Glaser. Welcome to the week ahead: Our quick take on what investors should have on their radar screens for the week starting Oct. 26.

Although not as busy as last week, investors will get plenty of earnings reports in the next few days, and we'll also get an update from the Fed.

Apple will report on Tuesday, and as always, the iPhone will be in focus. We won't see the impact of the new phone yet, but we'll still be watching to see what growth looks like in important markets like China. We'll also be looking to see if easing supply constraints help Apple Watch sales.

We'll hear from several oil majors this week, including ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Shell. Last quarter, these firms felt the impact of low oil prices on their upstream operations, but that was in many cases mitigated by the firm's downstream businesses. Given that oil prices have fallen further since the second quarter, it seems likely that these pressures won't show any signs of abating.

Ford reports on Tuesday against the backdrop of an improving U.S. auto market, and GM's outstanding quarterly results reported last week.

Pharmaceutical companies have been under pressure recently as there has been more media and political focus on drug pricing. These potential issues are mostly speculative at this point and won't be a major factor in the results we see this week from the likes of Pfizer and Merck.

Starbucks had a strong second quarter on both the top and bottom lines. We'll be looking to see what impact new initiatives like mobile ordering are having on the business when the firm reports this week.

The Fed's October meeting will wrap up on Wednesday, but given some of the weak data we've seen recently and the fact that there is no scheduled press conference after this meeting, the likelihood of a rate hike is remote. Still, the statement will be closely eyed to discern how the Fed's thinking on a rate increase is evolving and if a move after the December meeting is still a possibility.

The advanced take on third-quarter GDP will be released this week. Keep in mind this is a very early reading on how much the economy grew and is likely to be significantly revised.

September's personal income and spending numbers are due Friday. We'll be looking to see how consumers are holding up and if there are any signs that the inflation measure embedded in this report is getting closer to the Fed's target.

There will also be some housing and consumer sentiment data to grapple with this week.

Stay tuned to Morningstar for our take on all of these stories throughout the week.