4 stocks in the batter's box

Earnings announcements from these companies will give some insight into whether the quarter will turn out as badly as some expect.

By Stock Traders Daily Apr 13, 2012 3:32PM

Image: Ascending graph and red pencil (© Adam Gault/OJO Images/Getty Images)Just as the Major League Baseball season has gotten underway, so too has the first-quarter corporate earnings season. A number of earnings releases are due out in the coming days, and the results are likely to play a major role in determining the next big moves of the market.


Here are four names for investors to keep an eye on heading into earnings announcements next week:

 

Big Blue

 

After the market close on Tuesday, IBM (IBM) will report the results of its first quarter. Wall Street is calling for Big Blue to report a 10% advance in per-share earnings and a 0.7% increase in revenue.

 

The company recently unveiled PureSystems, a line of integrated hardware and software solutions. The offerings aim to bring the benefits of cloud computing to customers without the effort and expense of designing such an environment from scratch. PureSystems was four years in the making and should prove to be a formidable competitor to existing products already on the market.

 

Another big name in the technology space releasing results on Tuesday is the semiconductor company Intel (INTC). Analysts are predicting that the company will report per-share earnings of 50 cents versus 56 cents in the year-ago quarter. Sales are expected to remain relatively flat. Intel shares have rallied 17.4% since the beginning of the year.

 

Keeping a steady pulse

 

Before the opening bell on Tuesday, the health care products company Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) will weigh in with the results of its first quarter. The consensus among analysts is that the company will post per-share earnings of $1.35, which equals earnings from a year earlier. Total sales are expected to tick up slightly.

 

The company is coming off of a fourth quarter that saw a 10.2% pop in international revenue. The quarter did suffer a $2.9 billion after-tax hit pertaining to costs that included product liability expenses and litigation settlements. Johnson & Johnson has seen its stock price decline 2.5% this year.

 

One other stock for traders to keep an eye on prior to Tuesday is the medical device maker Stryker (SYK). The company is expected to announce a 10% improvement in per-share earnings on a 5.2% gain in revenue when compared to the year-ago quarter. Shares of Stryker have risen 10.6% so far this year.

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