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Sweet and Sour Stocks

The earnings season continues to provide a mixed picture. In the latest round of reports we got a sweet beat from American Express which bodes well for consumer spending. That was followed by a sour pre-announcement by UPS that they will come up short of expectations in Q4 which says the opposite.

Right now I give this earnings season a grade of C. Not failing, but not impressing anyone.

On the economic front we actually got 3 solid reports on Friday. Housing Starts continues to impress even with higher mortgage rates. Industrial Production shows building momentum in the manufacturing space. And Consumer Sentiment remains at elevated levels.

The economic calendar is light this week. So all eyes will be on earnings as it comes into full swing. Let's hope Corporate America does some extra credit projects to get a grade of B or better before this earnings season ends.

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Bull & Bear of the Day

Zacks Rank #1

Amtrust Financial Services (AFSI)

Outstanding earnings estimate revisions of late and 17 straight beats make this bull worth a deeper look.


Zacks Rank #5

Stone Energy Corp (SGY)

A recent drop in the 2014 Zacks Consensus Estimate hurt its rank. 2015 is lower as well.

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Roundtable Top Picks for the Week of Jan. 20th

Ideas for Chemicals, Financials and Medical Devices. Stocks covered include PPG Industries (PPG), Waddell & Reed (WDR) and Greatbatch Inc. (GB).

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A Look Into Zacks January Market Strategy.

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Will expectations of an improved economic backdrop start showing up in corporate guidance, reversing the otherwise trend of the last many quarters.

Earnings HQ

Today's Noteworthy Earnings Before the Bell:   ››  JNJVZSAPHALTRV

Today's Noteworthy Earnings After the Bell:   ››  IBMTXNCAXLNXCREE

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Recent Earnings Winners

Company Symbol Reported Surprise %Price Chg
FIRSTIME DESIGN LTD FTDL Jan 17 +0.14% +10.80%
MORGAN STANLEY MS Jan 17 +0.50% +4.38%
SOUTHCOAST FINCL CP SOCB Jan 17 +0.05% +4.03%
WEBSTER FINL CORP CONN WBS Jan 17 +0.52% +3.66%
SUNTRUST BANKS INC STI Jan 17 +0.77% +3.50%

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KNIGHTSBRIDGE VLCCF 0.08 0.09 Feb 5 1 +12.50
PARTNERRE LTD PRE 2.67 2.97 Feb 3 1 +11.24
WESTERN DIGITAL WDC 2.08 2.10 Jan 22 1 +0.96
AFFYMETRIX INC AFFX 0.06 0.10 Feb 5 1 +66.67
MULTIMEDIA GAME MGAM 0.29 0.32 Jan 30 1 +10.34
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