Earnings Kick Off With Sky-High Forecasts, Record Stock Market

Wall Street is heading into earnings season this week with high expectations after strong profits fueled a stock market rally in the first half of the year.

Money managers will be watching whether companies will again trounce Wall Street’s forecasts for earnings. The S&P 500 has gained 16% this year and notched 38 record closes, most recently on Friday.

With stock valuations sitting above long-term norms, investors will also be looking to executives for clues on what the future holds for company profits.

“Do people reward the markets even further from the levels that we’re seeing today?” said Amy Kong, chief investment officer at Barrett Asset Management. “It really depends I think on what management teams would say.”

Investors this week will parse results from big banks like JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bank of America Corp., as well as from companies ranging from PepsiCo Inc. to Delta Air Lines Inc. to UnitedHealth Group Inc.