The S&P 500 is on track to post its best January since 1989 with gains of 5.31 percent, or 75.77 points, as of Wednesday’s close. 202 companies in the benchmark index have reported earnings so far, with more than three-quarters of those companies topping profit expectations of analysts.
Nasdaq 100 member Facebook (FB) bounced around like a superball in extended trading on Wednesday, going from gaining ground to deep in the red before finally settling down by 4.2 percent. Investors will be looking at more volatility today as daytraders get their hands on the company after reporting a 79 percent drop in fourth-quarter profit Wednesday afternoon.
Also in the spotlight today will be the Labor Department’s weekly report on initial jobless claims and personal income and outlays from December. Economists are expecting first-time claims to climb to a seasonally adjusted 353,000 from 330,000 in the previous week. Regarding consumer’s cash, economists are calling-for an increase of 0.2 percent in spending and a 0.9 percent rise in incomes.
Back to the S&P 500, investors will be digesting earnings reports from another 38 members of the index on Thursday. The most closely watched will be Mastercard Inc. (MC), with analysts expected EPS of $4.80; PulteGroup Inc. (PHM), with expectations of 31 cents EPS; Colgate-Palmolive (CL), with projections of $1.40 EPS; and Whirlpool Corp. (WHR), with analysts anticipating $2.23 EPS.
Additionally, a few other big names reporting on Thursday will be (EPS estimates are final figure):
1-800-Flowers.Com Inc. (FLWS) – $0.24
*Aetna Inc. (AET) – $0.96
*Dow Chemical Co. (DOW) – $0.34
hhgregg Inc. (HGG) – $0.52
Landstar Systems Inc. (LSTR) – $0.67
*Ryder Systems Inc. (R) – $1.10
*Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. (NDAQ) – $0.61
*Sherwin-Williams Co. (SHW) – $1.16
*Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) – $1.55
Under Armor Inc. (UA) – $0.46
*Viacom Inc. (VIAB) – $0.90
*Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN) – $1.25
*Denotes S&P 500 company