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Looking Ahead to Q4 Earnings


Monday, January 8, 2018

We are seeing pre-market trading slightly in the red to start a new week of trading, but this is to be expected — it’s not often we see the Dow climb 577 points like we did last week, not even in this exuberant bull market rally that began more than a year ago. Not even a disappointing headline on non-farm payrolls last Friday could quell the animal spirits; drilling down into the numbers uncovered continued labor market strength.

This is the best yearly start to the stock market since 2006 — well ahead of the market bubble that cratered into the Great Recession. That said, we are only one week in, with obviously plenty yet to unpack. But most of what we know is to come for the markets — tax cuts, deregulation, possible infrastructure spending — is expected to be very good for stocks.

The good news did not stop there. Quoting stronger-than-expected holiday sales at lululemon LULU, the company upped its guidance forecast. As a result, shares of the specialty retailer have pushed up another 3% in early trading, to an all-time high of $81.80 per share.

Later this week, we will begin to see Q4 earnings results from the big banks — now the “official” start of earnings season, although we have already seen some companies of consequence bring forward their quarterly totals in late December — such as JPMorgan JPM and Wells Fargo WFC. Longer term, we expect the banks to be among the biggest beneficiaries of interest rate hikes by the Fed. But in the near term, articulated by Zacks Director of Research Sheraz Mian, we foresee choppiness on the horizon: Q4 Bank Earnings Will Be Messy & Noisy

Once Q4 earnings season really gets going next week and through most of January, we’ll have a better idea of how strong our economy is shaping up. Expect tax cuts to bring positive adjustments to many companies’ bottom lines. The question will be: to what extent are these gains currently priced in?

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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