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New Construction Data, Q1 Earnings In Focus


Strength in Q1 earnings season, at least in these early stages, has helped bolster market indexes. This continues ahead of Tuesday’s market open as well, with Dow futures looking to wipe out 2018 losses and push back into the green for the first time in roughly 3 weeks.

Ahead of today’s opening bell, new Housing Starts and Permits results for March have hit the tape. We saw a seasonally adjusted, annualized read of 1.32 million new starts last month, up from the 1.26 million estimated, up 1.9%. February starts were revised up from 1.24 million originally reported to 1.295 million today.

Multi-family units were stronger than expected last month, up 14.4% to 452K. Single-family housing starts, which had been carrying the load in recent times, fell 3.7% to 867K. By region, while the Midwest saw gains, the Northeast, South and West took a step backward. Permits — a forward indicator of future housing starts — for multi-family homes spiked up 19% to 514K, suggesting a continuation in multi-family home strength.

Q1 Earnings Highlights

While we await earnings reports after the bell today from IBM, United Continental and others, ahead of the bell we saw results from some key big names across industry lines — and all outperformed expectations:

Wall Street major Goldman Sachs GS followed the strength from late last week among other big banks, posting earnings of $6.95 per share from the $5.67 expected, as well as up strongly from the year-ago’s $5.15 per share. Revenues reached $10 billion in Q1, easily surpassing the $8.9 billion expected and $8 billion from the year-ago quarter. For more on GS’s earnings, click here.

Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)-rated Johnson & Johnson JNJ topped earnings estimates by 5 cents to $2.06 per share, as quarterly sales reached $20.0 billion, outpacing the expected $19.5 billion in the Zacks consensus. Pharmaceuticals rose up in the quarter 19.4% year over year to $9.84 billion by itself. Shares are up more than 1% in today’s pre-market. For more on JNJ’s earnings, click here.

UnitedHealth UNH, which had been carrying a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) rating going into this morning’s earnings report, also surprised to the upside: $3.04 per share beat the $2.92 the Zacks consensus had been expecting. Revenues of $55.2 billion narrowly topped the $54.9 billion estimated, on healthy subscription growth year over year. For more on UNH’s earnings, click here.

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