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Q4 2018 Earnings Reports in Focus

Zacks Equity Research

A full week into 2019, we look toward new economic data after today’s opening bell to see if the markets can continue the terrific bullishness we saw on Friday, with the S&P 500 up nearly 3 1/2%, the Nasdaq 4%+ and the Dow up a whopping 747 points. This was the tonic markets had been hoping for following for selling during periods of uncertainty regarding trade static with China and a partially shut U.S. government.

ISM Services are expected at 10am ET this morning, and analysts hope for stronger figures than we saw last week from ISM Manufacturing, which came in beneath expectations and down to the lowest levels in over two years. Services, which makes up the lion’s share of domestic economic growth, brought a headline figure of 60.7% for November. We were also scheduled to see new Factory Orders today, but these results will be delayed due to the ongoing government shutdown, now in its third week.

Trade talks in Beijing with U.S. officials continue, although no concrete progress has been reported at this hour. What the U.S. is looking to obtain from its major trading partner is trade deficit reduction (by way of increasing U.S. exports to the company), structural reforms and compliance enforcement. Whether there is actual wiggle room for establishing any of this remains to be seen.

Q4 Earnings on the Horizon

We also find ourselves gearing up for a fresh round of earnings reports beginning tomorrow, with companies like Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)-rated Lindsay Corporation LNN, a crop irrigation specialist, and Zacks Rank #2-rated transportation supplier Greenbrier GBX reporting on Wednesday. The big banks aren’t reporting until next week, but we also look forward to results from Constellation Brands STX) and Bed, Bath & Beyond BBBY this week.

The only current Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) stock expected to release earnings this week is Saratoga Investment SAR), a middle-market debt financier. The small-cap investment firm, formerly known as GSC, has beaten earnings estimates in 4 out of the last 5 quarters, and its report is scheduled to come out Wednesday after the closing bell.

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