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Economic Data Deluge

We close out this week with higher pre-market futures — so high, in fact, they look to bring about new all-time levels by today’s closing bell, should current sentiment continue. This partly has to do with a better-than-expected Q4 earnings season overall so far, along with a void of economic metrics this week that might cause market participants pause.

This changes next week, when we see big economic data hit the tape from a number of sources: Durable Goods Orders, Consumer Confidence, Q4 GDP and Personal Income/Consumer Spending. In addition, though Q4 earnings season rolls along moderately as it has for the past couple weeks, next week it really catches fire with companies such as AppleFacebookMicrosoftBoeingPfizerStarbucksAT&T and many, many more reporting quarterly results.

As of now, however, we end this week Ahead of Wall Street where we began: with a developing story about a deadly coronavirus that took hold reportedly in the central China city of Wuhan. The coronavirus, which medical officials the world over are on alert to prevent a full-blown pandemic, has already accounted for 26 deaths and over 900 confirmed cases. While 880 of the known people infected with the disease are in mainland China, there are also two cases in Japan and one in the United States, with the balance elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Currently, 33 million people are on lockdown in mainland China, which throws a monkey wrench into its economy as this outbreak comes just before Chinese New Year — the busiest travel time of the year in the country. Companies like McDonald's MCD have already shuttered stores in the Wuhan area; scientists have already confirmed this virus can indeed be spread through human-to-human contact.

Q4 earnings results for American Express (AXP outpaced estimates on its bottom line by 3 cents to $2.03 per share, on quarterly revenues that came in-line with expectations at $11.37 billion. These results compare favorably with the year-ago quarter, where we saw $1.74 per share and $10.47 billion, respectively. AmEx has only missed bottom-line expectations twice in the past 13 quarters. Shares are up 2% at this hour in the pre-market, following 5.5% growth year to date. For more on AXP’s earnings, click here.

NextEra Energy NEE, on the other hand, missed expectations in its Q4 earnings by a full dime, to $1.44 per share. This came on revenues of $4.59 billion in the quarter, beneath the $4.79 billion in the Zacks consensus, though +4.5% year over year. The alternative energy firm has reiterated its long-term guidance (through full-year 2021), and shares are down minimally ahead of today’s open. For more on NEE’s earnings, click here.


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