Monday, April 9, 2012

US economy: earnings season gets ready for primetime

Wells-Fargo-posts-its-res-007 Earnings seasons come and go – usually unnoticed by those who don't read the financial pages. But this one will be different. With the 2012 election likely to act as a referendum on the state of the US economy, even once arcane and wonkish statistics like the "non-farm payrolls" – ignored in happier times – are top of the news agenda. As the world's biggest companies prepare to give their take on the US economy, here's a sneak peek of the week ahead.

• Alcoa, the world's biggest aluminum producer, releases its first-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Recession in Europe, slow growth in the US, trouble in China – analysts are expecting the company to post a loss. A gloomy start to the earnings season.

• Google's golden goose failed to lay an egg last quarter, falling short of analysts' expectations as revenues slowed and the company spent to push its business beyond internet search. On Thursday it faces another test and analysts are revising their estimates down. They still think it'll make $8.13bn – 24% up on last year. But that's not good enough for some on Wall Street.

• JP Morgan and Wells Fargo report on Friday, giving the first look at how the banks are fairing in 2012. JP Morgan's shares are up 37% in the last six months. Can they sustain that rally? Analysts have their doubts. Jamie Dimon, JP's chief, pocketed $23m in pay and perks last year, will be hoping to prove them wrong.

The Guardian

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