Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch for Feb. 19

Investing.com - Here are three things that could rock the markets tomorrow.

1. Sharp Drop in Housing Starts Expected

More information on the U.S. housing market arrives Wednesday, with the latest report on housing starts and building permits scheduled.

The Commerce Department will issue the latest figure at 8:30 AM ET (13:30 GMT).

Groundbreaking on new homes is predicted to drop sharply, with January housing starts seen down 30.7% to an annual rate of 1.425 million, according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

Building permits, an indication of demand, are expected to have edged up to an annual rate of 1.45 million.

2. Fast-Food Earnings Delivered

The earnings calendar remains busy, but with fewer major names. There are a host of restaurant companies reporting, though.

Jack In The Box Inc (NASDAQ:JACK) will issues its quarterly numbers after the bell Wednesday.

The fast-food chain is expected to report a profit of $1.38 per share on sales of about $297 million, according to analysts’ forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

Last week, Cowen upgraded the stock to outperform from market perform going into earnings, boosting the price target to $102 from $91 per share.

Cowen noted that the restaurant’s Tiny Tacos are getting good traction and that shares are discounted by 34% compared with peers, Briefing.com reported.

Also reporting postmarket is The Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE), with analysts looking for the fast-casual chain to have earned 62 cents a share on sales of sales of about $707 million.

And Wingstop (NASDAQ:WING) weighs in before the bell.

Wingstop is predicted to post a profit of 17 cents per share, with sales of about $53 million.

3. API Inventories on Tap

Oil prices ended flat today despite increasing concerns about the economic impact of Covid-19 following Apple’s warning.

U.S. sanctions on Russian oil giant Rosneft helped support prices in later trading.

Tomorrow, the American Petroleum Institute will issues its measure of weekly crude inventories, which traders look to as a guide ahead of the official government figures.

Last week the API reported a weekly build of 6 million barrels of crude.

The Energy Information Administration will report its figures on Thursday, a day later than usual due to Monday’s federal holiday.