First Quarter Earnings Start to Trickle In

Two weeks into the second quarter of 2010, stock market players have plenty to look forward to as first quarter results start to trickle in. With the Dow ending last week just short of the 11,000 mark (after having crossed it and retreated during the day on Friday), and the Nasdaq index and S&P 500 reaching almost two year and 18 month highs respectively, it appears that investors have cause to be optimistic. After earnings that were boosted by cost-cutting measures mid-2009, followed by mediocre performances, the general opinion seems to be that US companies which have survived the economic turmoil will start to show profits. Earnings are expected to have climbed by around 37% for the first quarter of 2010 as measured against the same period in 2009. Revenues are looking at a 10% increase for the same time period.

In keeping with tradition, Dow component Alcoa kicks off the quarterly reporting period with the release of its results at start of trade on Monday. It is anticipated that Alcoa will have earned 11 cents per share, being a marked improvement over the loss of 59 cents in the first quarter of 2009. Other Dow components to report in the coming week include Intel, JP Morgan Chase, General Electric and Bank of America.

Intel will be reporting after close of business on Tuesday, with expected earnings of 38 centers per share over the 11 cents per share of 2009. Investors will also no doubt be keen to see what Google, arguably the leader in the tech sector, has to offer in its report due out on Thursday. Expected earnings of $6.57 per share are very likely to have been achieved, as compared to $5.16 per share a year ago.

JP Morgan Chase will be the first in the realm of high finance to report earnings on Wednesday morning before the bell. Earnings of 64 cents per share are expected, versus the 40 cents per share a year ago. Bank of America reports on Friday, with a profit of 10 cents per share anticipated.

Other highlights of the week ahead include the March Treasury budget on Monday afternoon; the February Trade Balance on Tuesday morning; the March retail sales report from the Commerce Department and the CPI for March on Wednesday; the weekly jobless claims report from the Department of Labor on Thursday; ending the week with the University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment index for April.