U.S. earnings season
This week, some of the foremost U.S. companies will release their quarterly earnings, enabling investors to measure the impact of the slowdown in the Chinese economy and debt crisis in the eurozone.
Included in the big names are Citigroup, Coca Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Intel, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Qualcomm, Verizon, Microsoft, Apple, AMD, GE and Xerox.
It’s a pessimistic atmosphere for both financial companies and technology firms _ the two segments extra sensitive to economic fluctuations compared to brick-and-mortar corporations.
Banks, in particular investment banks, are likely to report lackluster performances in the April-June period amid the lingering uncertainty over the European crisis and the slump in emerging economies.
The deadly cocktail has prompted companies to refrain from carrying out mergers and acquisitions or money-raising campaigns thus cutting down on revenue sources for investment banks.
Analysts have recently cut down their earnings estimates for many banks as well as downgraded their stocks. Investors also bought the analysis as share prices of late have remained weak.
Things are not better for high-tech companies including Microsoft and Intel whose stock prices headed down this month due to earnings warnings.
Up until now, high-tech companies had fared relatively well during the downturn as corporations refused to slash their IT budgets with the belief that technological advancements would eventually jack up their bottom lines.
Yet, that was the story when the economic growth in the emerging markets of China and India picked up the slack in advanced economies, which is not the case this time around.
Of note is Apple, whose love affair with Wall Street analysts continues despite recent economic worries.
Market watchers expect Apple to continue its tradition of beating analysts’ estimates by big margins as the Cupertino-based powerhouse has done for the past two years with just one exception.
Yet, even Apple is not likely to boast of an earnings surprise in these hard times _ even if it beats analysts’ estimates, the difference is not likely to be by double digits.
At the end of this week, investors from not only the United States but also other nations including Korea will likely heave a big sigh.