Earnings results are OK so far

JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley report decent reports. American Express and Citigroup disappoint. Overall results are about average. Markets are closed Monday for Martin Luther King Day.

By Charley Blaine Jan 18, 2013 4:51PM
Stock market © Zurbar/age fotostockHere's what we know after a big week of earnings.

The reports, mostly from financial companies, weren't bad but weren't uniformly great either. There were some notable disappointments, especially from Intel (INTC), Citigroup (C) and American Express (AXP).

Still, the stock market appears to be relatively pleased. The major averages were little changed on Friday but poised to finish modestly higher for a third straight week.

But the market looks a bit toppy, with some important momentum measures signaling the major averages may be  overbought and due for a pullback.

The good news this week came from JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Goldman Sachs (GS), Morgan Stanley (MS) and General Electric (GE). All beat estimates and suggested 2013 will be a decent year, thanks to modest U.S. growth. GE specifically cited an economic rebound in China.

Intel disappointed investors by announcing a huge increase in capital spending despite considerable weakness in the personal computer business.

Thomson Reuters said Friday that 62% of the 66 Standard & Poor's 500 companies that have reported fourth-quarter results have beaten Street estimates. That's about average. About 67% have beaten revenue estimates. That's a touch better than expected. So far, revenue growth for S&P 500 companies is about 5.7% over a year ago.

There's a little improvement in terms of preannouncements. So far, 103 S&P 500 companies have warned earnings will disappoint, compared with 32 signalling better-than-expected results. That's a ratio of 3.2. That's down from the third-quarter ratio of 3.77 but up from a year ago's ratio of 2.68.

The economic data for the week has been decent. Housing starts jumped to 780,000 units in 2012, the best year since 2008, and many analysts see a strong year in 2013.

If there's concern, it's oil prices, which moved up about 2% this week on worries about Algeria. Crude oil (-CL) in New York finished at $95.56 a barrel.

Despite a great deal of volatility because of the problems of Boeing's (BA) 787 Dreamliner, the stock will finish maybe 0.5% lower for the week.

Markets will be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King holiday. But the week still features a number of important earnings reports.

Top among these: Google (GOOG) on Tuesday; Apple (AAPL) on Wednesday; Microsoft (MSFT) and Starbucks (MSFT) on Thursday; Halliburton (HAL) and Procter & Gamble (PG) on Friday. (Microsoft is the publisher of MSN Money.)

Apple is the report that will command the most attention because of the enormous debate over whether iPhone 5 sales are fabulous or merely good.

Apple shares finished Friday at $500, down $2.68. They closed at $489 on Tuesday, their first close under $500 in nearly a year. The shares were off 3.9% for the week and are off 6.1% in January. They have fallen about 29% since peaking in mid-September.

But Google's report on Tuesday will be scrutinized closely on how its advertising business is doing and if it has much to say about the spread of smartphones using its Android operating system.

It's probable that results from Microsoft will be studied closely on how well its Windows 8 operating system is selling. Early indications are that it has not been as successful as hoped.

For good news, watch Weyerhaeuser (WY) on Friday to see if its results confirm the momentum of the housing recovery.

More on Money Now

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Jan 19, 2013 1:36PM
If all these Large Banks are in effect "money laundering" for the fed, shouldn't their profits be well above normal? What am I missing here? I mean if you can get money for almost free and lend it out at 4, 5 or 6 percent, or 19 or 21 percent for revolving credit, these banks should be swimming in profit.
Jan 18, 2013 9:38PM
Let the markets stay closed.  That way nobody will lose any money.  You know if you play with fire you will get burnt.
Jan 20, 2013 12:59PM

Folks, Right now it's all about US; Debt ceilings, Defaults, Spending cuts, Moving forward on our Recovery(which includes jobs) and then Revenues and Earnings....?


As far as I'm concerned, Europe, China and Japan are all on the back burner with low heat...imo.


Fed money printing, and passing or buying of Dollars is an anchor that is still tied to our coatails.

But, some ladders and ropes have been lowered into our "hole of despair" and we have to find a way to climb out responsibly,,,that can work for all Americans....Please bless us one and all...

And our President "just" took the oath of office.

Jan 19, 2013 6:40PM

I swear to the Gods....I might have just seen a pig fly over our Pines....?


No I guess it wasn't?, Miss Lilly told me to get my glasses on, it was a Black and White Owl..

Jan 18, 2013 5:59PM

In 4 years the dow is up from 8158 to 13649, a 67.4% increase.You`ll hear that on

Fox when pigs fly.Of course, the far right will say that`s an accident.The Dow was

down 37% with Bush.Let`s hear their explanation for that.

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