Market Preview: Waiting on a Winner
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The worst result for stocks would probably be no result.
With the presidential election seemingly set to go down to the wire, there's a chance that Tuesday night won't yield a clear-cut winner. It's early yet so it's not worth speculating in much depth, but this is a scenario that Wall Street is unlikely to greet too kindly.
This late in the game, breaking down what a victory by Obama or Romney means for stocks has been done to death. And in truth, it will take a few weeks to figure out how investors really feel about whoever wins.
But just getting a definitive result will likely spur some buying, as it will remove significant uncertainty from the near-term horizon. That relief will promptly give way to amped-up discussion about how to avoid the fiscal cliff but Wall Street will likely take a few days to at least digest the nation's decision before moving on.
And speaking of the fiscal cliff, one silver lining of Hurricane Sandy may be that the legislators on both sides of aisle could be loathe to play the same game of chicken this time around that they played with disastrous results when it came to the debt ceiling.
Regardless, Wednesday's session will be all about Wall Street's reaction to the election results with corporate news taking a backseat as third-quarter reporting season winds down.
The earnings docket is still pretty busy though. Whole Foods Market (WFM) is due to report its fiscal fourth-quarter results after the closing bell, and the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for a profit of 60 cents a share in the September-ended period on revenue of $2.91 billion.
Shares of the supermarket operator are up more than 40% so far in 2012, and the Austin, Texas-based company has topped Wall Street's consensus earnings view in the past eight quarters.
The stock hit a 52-week high of $101.86 on Oct. 5, so Tuesday's close at $98 represents a pullback of roughly 4%. The valuation is a bit stretched at current levels with the forward price-to-earnings multiple sitting at 33.8X vs. 13.7X for the S&P 500 .
Early reports are due from Becton, Dickinson (BDX) , Blyth(BTH) , CenterPoint Energy (CNP) , Devon Energy (DVN) , Dynegy(DYN) , Hospira(HSP) , Leap Wireless (LEAP) , Macy's(M) , Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) , Sodastream International (SODA) , Sonus Networks (SONS) , Tenet Healthcare (THC) , Time Warner (TWX) , and WellPoint(WLP) .
The late roster includes Activision Blizzard (ATVI) , CafePress(PRSS) , CBS Corp. (CBS) , Chiquita Brands International (CQB) , Luby's(LUB) , MAKO Surgical (MAKO) , Monster Worldwide (MNST) , Prudential Financial (PRU) , Qualcomm(QCOM) , and Rosetta Stone (RST) .
Wednesday's economic calendar is light with just weekly crude inventories data at 10:30 a.m. ET; and consumer credit for September at 3 p.m. ET.