With earnings season now in full swing, it's starting to seem that worries over diminished profits were exaggerated. So far, more than 77% of reporting companies have beaten estimates, and all six Dow Jones Industrial Average
Bank of America
While earnings beats from Coca-Cola and Goldman Sachs helped push the Dow into positive territory yesterday, that optimism has not carried over today, as the Dow is down 0.2% at open. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke appears to have spooked investors once again, acknowledging slowing growth in the economy but showing reluctance to take immediate action through another round of quantitative easing. Investors can expect some more Fed tea leaves at 2 p.m. EDT today when the central bank releases its Beige Book, the regular economic report from each of its 12 districts. Bernanke will also deliver more remarks to the House Financial Services Committee at 10 a.m. EDT today.
Two more Dow earnings reports are due out after close: financial American Express
Analysts believe American Express, being a luxury brand, could take a hit in the second quarter as its customers cut back on spending due to the stock-market slump. High-end retailers, another indicator for AmEx, saw sales slowing in April and May. The market consensus is EPS of $1.09 for the credit card company, up from $1.07 a year ago.
There was one piece of good economic news to come out this morning. Housing starts in June jumped to an adjusted rate of 760,000, up 6.9% from May's total of 711,000 and 23.6% above June 2011 starts. That beat estimates by 17,000, though new building permits came in below estimates.
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