Coming off the worst week of the year, market participants have a cautious stance in the stock market today as earnings season kicks off - and will likely disappoint.
The Dow fell 13.29 points, or 0.09%, to 14,565.25 last week. The S&P shed 15.91, or 1.01%, to end the week at 1,553.28.
Monday, guarded investors kept a wary eye on developments in Eurozone, nuclear tensions in the Korean Peninsula, and Alcoa Inc.'s (NYSE: AA) earnings after the bell-the unofficial kick-off to Q1 earnings reports.
Red flags are waving that companies will report a slowdown in corporate profits. A number of companies have delivered lower guidance, with pre-earnings announcements sloped to the negative side. Companies in the S&P are expected to increase Q1 earnings a measly 1.5% over last year, according to Thomson Reuters.
Weak earnings could push any nervous investors to take gains and bail on markets for a while.
"Right now, projections for earnings in 2013 and the market are based on optimistic assumption," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst with S&P Dow Jones Indices told Barron's. "We can meet estimates if things move in the right direction. But the economy does not go straight up or down. There are bumps up or down. There are bumps in the road. And investors rarely get everything they need or want."
Here are some upcoming earnings reports to watch, as well as two of the biggest deals moving stocks this week.Stock Market Today: Don't Focus on Alcoa
Analysts warn not to read too much into Alcoa's report. The bellwether really doesn't carry much stock market clout anymore. Shares have lagged behind the S&P 500 Index by 14% this year.
"Do not get caught up in the hype of Alcoa being a good proxy for upcoming earnings season because it is not and certainly its stock price has not reflected it either," Nick Raich, chief executive officer at The Earnings Scout told MarketWatch.
JPM is expected to earn $1.39, up from $1.19 in the same quarter a year ago. The bank has been under close scrutiny since losing $6.2 billion last year in a London whale trade. Shares were up in afternoon trading 0.7% to $48.24.
Forecasts are for Wells Fargo, the largest position in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A, BRK.B), to report a drop in profitability following 11 straight quarters of earnings growth. The decline is expected due to a slowdown in market refinancing. Estimates are for Wells to earn 89 cents a share, versus 75 cents in the same quarter last year.
Analysts will look to Wells Fargo for any signs of housing market health, as Wells dominates home lending as the largest U.S. home mortgage bank.
GE might not have gotten such a great deal, though. Analysts balked at the company paying 13.5 times the 2013 estimates for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and a 38% premium to the stock's Friday closing price. Raymond James called it a "hefty" premium.
Related Articles and News:Tags: earnings season, earnings season calendar, earnings season news, earnings season poses test for rally, earnings season results, earnings season wiki, q1 earnings season, stock market closed today, stock market news, stock market ticker today, stock market today, stock market today closing time, stock market today google, stock market today live, stock market today results