With the busiest day of earnings reports yet and Bernanke's testimony on Capitol Hill, investors will have plenty of news thrown at them today. As of this writing, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI ) and S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC ) were up 0.4%. Let's look at three key themes for investors to follow today.
Are we there yet?
Like children in the backseat on a long road trip to Stimulus Land, investors are asking, "Are we there yet?" Following Ben Bernanke's testimony on Capitol Hill, we'll likely receive the same answer we got following the Fed's meeting last month and the minutes released last week: "No." However, with retail sales coming in worse than expected and economists taking their GDP growth estimates to the chopping block, it's possible that the ever-important "tone" from the Fed chairman could become a tad more accommodative. Testimony begins at 10 a.m. EDT this morning and continues again tomorrow.
Earnings season accelerates
In this earnings season's busiest day yet, investors will receive a number of announcements, including morning releases from Dow components Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola, as well as a post-market release from Intel. Outside the Dow, notable reports will come from the likes of Goldman Sachs and Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) . For Yahoo! shareholders, today's numbers may fall on deaf ears following news yesterday that Marissa Mayer, Google employee No. 20, will be its next CEO. Expect some interesting discussion around strategic vision on the earnings call.
Their end markets are different, but recent news out of Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU ) and GM suggests the same thing: Business in Europe stinks. Alcatel-Lucent, the French telecom equipment maker, came out with revised guidance earlier today indicating that, due to lackluster performance so far and a difficult economic environment, the company "will not be able to achieve its previously announced adjusted operating margin guidance for the full-year 2012." According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, GM will post "substantial losses" for the remainder of the year within its European division. The news aligns with Ford Motor's (NYSE: F ) announcement last month that weakness in Europe and other parts of the world could drive its international losses as high as $570 million in the second quarter.
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