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Markets Await Corporate Earnings

Market futures are taking a breather ahead of Monday’s opening bell. This follows four weeks of growth among the top indexes (first time since August of last year), as investors set their course for strong performances in 2021. There are no major economic reports pending today, nor for most of the week. Even though Q1 earnings season revs up from last week’s initial set of reports, as on most Mondays we’re starting slowly.

Coca-Cola KO is one of those bigger names to release Q1 results during today’s pre-market, keeping the string of mostly strong performances alive with notable beats on both top and bottom lines: earnings of 55 cents per share outpaced the Zacks consensus by a solid nickel, while quarterly sales came in at $9.02 billion, swinging to growth year-over-year from expectations. March demand is reportedly back to pre-pandemic levels.

Organic revenues grew 6% year over year, despite pandemic pressures continuing throughout the economy, with operating margins staying at desirable rates. Growth in India, China and Latin America has offset relative weakness in North America. This has been somewhat augmented by harder-hit segments like sports, coffee, tea and hydration (water) businesses. The company has not missed on earnings for a full four years.

After the closing bell today, we’ll hear from United Airlines UAL, IBM IBM and Steel Dynamics STLD. All three industries represented here — Airlines, Tech and Basic Materials — have direct implications for the economy at large. We saw the big Wall Street banks easily outperform expectations last week, but will this strength already be showing up in these other sectors this early, as well?

The tech-heavy Nasdaq currently sits at a 2-month high (prior to a lightly lower open expected), but is at last within 0.3% of its all-time highs last registered in the autumn of 2020. FAANG stocks kick off earnings season Tuesday after the close, with Netflix NFLX putting up Q1 results. There is plenty of interest in these results; has the gradual re-opening of the economy begun to take away from the big “shelter in place” winners?

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