It's the countdown to Big Ben's appearance before Congress. Fed Chair Bernanke is about to begin two days of semi-annual testimony in front of D-C lawmakers. Marketwatch crunched the numbers and found that in Bernanke's past 15 appearances, markets have moved higher 12 times, so we're talking 80% of the time. On average the S&P moves up .7% over the two-day event. The largest gain was in February 2009 when it jumped 2.9%. Of course, past performance does not always predict the future, so what should we expect this time around. Yahoo! Finance Editor-in-Chief Aaron Task has more in the video above.
Breaking news: Housing starts have plummeted. The Commerce Department reports a 9.9% drop in housing starts for the month of June. Expectations had been for an increase of 3.9%. The number was up 6.8% percent in May after taking a 15% plunge in April so we're seeing a lot of volatility here.
We've got one of the busiest days in earnings season with four Dow components reporting today. Bank of America (BAC) is already out with its report. The company beat estimates posting profits of 32-cents a share when expectations were for 25-cents. Revenue was also about $100 million higher than predicted at $22.9 billion. The bank says it was helped by cost-cutting as well as strength in investment banking. In fact earnings were up 70% from a year ago.
We've got another giant in the financial sector reporting after the close: American Express (AXP). Yahoo! Finance's Jeff Macke has a preview of that and the two other Dow components reporting today-- IBM (IBM) and Intel (INTC) -- in the video above.
Google (GOOG) may be getting into the TV game. The Wall Street Journal reports Google has been in talks with content providers about providing a service similar to Netflix (NFLX) or Hulu. So far there's no indication any deals have been inked, and the field is getting crowded. Intel plans to launch a TV service by year's end. Sony's (SNE) working on a system to run on its devices like the PlayStation, which could be available within months. Meanwhile, Apple (AAPL) is said to be in on-going talks with media companies. All these companies are likely watching Netflix, which has seen its share price rise 183% so far in 2013. The company could also make history when Emmy nominations are announced tomorrow if its original series House of Cards or Arrested Development get nods.
STOCKS TO WATCH
Mattel (MAT) has come out this morning with a big miss on earnings. The toy maker says it made 21-cents a share for the quarter, far below expectations of 32-cents. Revenue was also a miss at $1.17 billion. Mattel says much of the problem was an impairment charge. But it looks like Barbie may also be getting old. Sales of the iconic figure slid for the fourth straight quarter. There were also declines in Fisher Price and Hot Wheels merchandise. American Girl and Monster High were bright spots. Shares of Mattel have been up 26% year-to-date. They're up 36% since this time last year.
eBay (EBAY) is currently up fractionally. The company will be reporting earnings after the closing bell. eBay is expected to show a sharp jump in business with revenue leaping to $3.89 billion from $3.4 billion. Earnings are also expected to climb with consensus calling for 64-cents a share. Analysts say the company has momentum in current markets. They also praise it for new initiatives. Shares of eBay are up a scant 6% year-to-date, but they may have been a bit ahead of the market. The stock has climbed a healthy 45% over the past year.
Yahoo! (YHOO) our parent company, is currently up more than 2% following release of its quarterly report yesterday afternoon. Excluding items, the company beat on earnings, posting 35-cents a share when estimates had been for 30-cents. That was a rise of 46% over a year ago. However, revenue missed slightly, with sales of $1.07 billion. Part of the problem there: advertisers are now paying 12% less for space, and the company has failed to increase its market share. The report got extra attention because instead of the traditional conference call, CEO Marissa Mayer appeared live in a video presentation. By the way, today is her one-year anniversary with the company. Shares of Yahoo are up 72% in that time, and have climbed 34% year-to-date.
Tesla (TSLA) is currently down 1.7% after falling 14-percent yesterday. Shares of the electric automaker tanked after a Goldman Sachs analyst warned the stock has become overvalued. That could be a factor in what sent prices crashing down from $125 to $109. But that's still $25 above Goldman's price target of $84 a share. The drop was Tesla's biggest one day percentage loss since January of last year. Still shares are up 208% since that start of 2013.