Q4 earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to grow 2.8% compared to the same period in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data. Even though AA will kick off the earnings season, a number of firms have already reported in the so-called pre-season. According to Thomson Reuters' data, 62% of the 21 companies that have already reported Q4 earnings have topped expectations.
With the fiscal cliff averted, and the next showdown regarding the debt ceiling not a concern until next month, traders expect corporate results to dictate market direction in the coming weeks.
U.S. Bank Settlement
In company news, Monday, federal regulators reached an $8.5 billion settlement with ten banks over foreclosure abuses relating to the robo-signing scandal. The banks involved in the deal included Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and six others.
In commodities, oil futures ended up 0.1% at $93.13 a barrel. Trading was range bound with traders reluctant to choose a direction ahead of earnings season and more data into U.S. crude stockpiles. Gold futures settled down 0.11% at $1,646.30 an ounce, their third straight session of losses, as investors remained concerned that the Fed may end its quantitative easing program this year.
Here's Where The Markets Stood At Day's End
- Dow Jones Industrial Average down 50.92 (-0.38%) to 13,384.29
- S&P 500 down 4.58 (-0.31%) to 1,416.89
- Nasdaq Composite Index down 2.85 (-0.09%) to 3,098.81
- Nikkei 225 Index down 0.83%
- Hang Seng Index unchanged
- Shanghai China Composite Index up 0.35%
- FTSE 100 Index down 0.42%
- DAX down 0.63%
- CAC 40 down 0.80%
- (+) PPHM, Shares rocket higher after the company provided an update from its internal review of discrepancies from its Phase II randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of bavituximab in second-line non-small cell lung cancer in 121 patients.
- (+) VVUS, Shares jump up following a Reuters report claiming the sales of the company's obesity drug Qsymia climbed 68% month-over-month to 12,978 prescriptions in the month ended Dec 21.
- (+) CLNT, Receives two purchase orders for dyeing machines. The purchase orders provide for CLNT to deliver a total of 84 dyeing machines for a total purchase price of approximately $3.2 million.
- (-) ILMN, Shares are down following the company's earlier announcement that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Verinata Health, Inc., a provider of non-invasive tests for the early identification of fetal chromosomal abnormalities, for consideration of $350 million plus up to $100 million in milestone payments through 2015.
- (-) TS, Dips after analysts at Guggenheim downgraded the company's stock to a Neutral rating from a Buy. The price target was set at $45 a share.
- (-) GSE, Appoints J. Michael Kirksey as executive vice president and CFO effective immediately.