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Bank earnings — What you need to know in markets on Friday

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

First-quarter earnings season is about to get underway.

On Friday morning, JPMorgan (JPM), Citi (C), Wells Fargo (WFC), and PNC Financial (PNC) will all report earnings, marking the unofficial beginning of first quarter earnings season.

Results from JPMorgan and Wells Fargo, two of the three largest banks in the country by assets, will be the most closely watched, and investors will pay careful attention to any commentary from JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon on the company’s earnings call.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon (Mike Blake/Reuters)

This run of earnings from major financial institutions will likely set the tone for trading on Friday, with markets looking to build on what’s been two positive days, with the Dow and S&P 500 closing in on paring their losses since the start of the year.

Investors will also be attuned to results from the major banks, as expectations are high for first- quarter earnings. Strong earnings growth — due both to the strong economy and tax cut benefits — was set to be the major catalyst for another strong year in the stock market in 2018, which, so far, has been a bumpy ride after stocks’ stellar run in 2017.

Also on the calendar for Friday is February’s report on job openings, which is expected to show over 6 million jobs were open in the U.S. during the second month of the year, down from 6.3 million in January.

The University of Michigan’s initial reading on consumer sentiment in April will also be released, with investors continuing to look for signs of consumers getting nervous about the volatility we’ve seen in the stock market this year, which, so far, has not knocked confidence in the economy.

Friday the 13th

It’s also a Friday the 13th — the first in April since 2012. According to Ryan Detrick at LPL Research, Friday the 13th has seen markets perform slightly worse than an average Friday since 1928. On average, the S&P 500 rises 0.05% on a given Friday and is up 54.5% of the time, good for an annualized return of 13% over the last 89 years. But on Friday’s that fall on the 13th of the month, the market gains just 0.2%, or an annualized return of 4.2%.

Of course, there is no meaningful signal for investors to take away. That Friday marks the 13th of the month — or any date of any month — is not a meaningful signal in and of itself. The only real takeaway from this bit of data mining, as always, is that stocks — usually — go up.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland

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