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White House Changes Residents, Q4 Earnings Ramp Up: UNH, MS, PG

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Each January 20th every four years brings a new inaugural for a fresh presidential term, and this morning news channels live-broadcast President Trump leaving the White House for the last time. President-elect Biden gets sworn in around 12pm ET today, ushering in the 46th President of the United States. Market futures today are all solidly in the green as of this hour.

Trump’s tenure is marked by one of the biggest corporate tax cuts in history, a prolonged trade battle with China, and of course the worst pandemic in more than 100 years — marked by 400K fatalities from the disease in the U.S. alone in just the past 11 months. Beyond these historic touchstones, however, Trump’s grandiose personality and headline-grabbing words and actions made his presidency unique on multiple levels. Love him or hate him, we have never had a president like Donald Trump.

Incoming President Biden has much on his plate to start a new term: integrating major improvements in Covid-19 vaccine delivery, an additional stimulus package to bring relief to struggling families and small businesses in the wake of the year-long pandemic, and a self-imposed vow to unite an acutely splintered populace are among the tasks the new president expects to face this week. In the first 100 days, checks are expected to have been delivered along with at least the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine to scores of millions of Americans.

Q4 earnings season continues this morning with several companies across a wide array of industries. UnitedHealthcare (UNH - Free Report) outperformed expectations this morning with earnings of $2.52 per share versus $2.39 per share in the Zacks consensus (and well off the year-ago pace of $3.90 per share). Revenues in the quarter marginally surpassed estimates to $65.47 billion. Shares are up slightly on the news, and have gained 16.5% over the past six months. For more on UNH’s earnings, click here.

Morgan Stanley (MS - Free Report) put up Goldman-sized numbers this morning, crushing Q4 estimates by a wide margin on both top and bottom lines: $1.92 per share zoomed ahead of the $1.29 expected (and well above the $1.20 per share reported in the yer-ago quarter), and $13.64 billion in quarterly revenues beat the Zacks consensus by 21%. The investment banking major has only two negative earnings surprises over the past five years. Shares are selling marginally in early trading, but up 9% year to date. For more on MS’ earnings, click here.

Procter & Gamble (PG - Free Report) also put up strong Q4 numbers, with earnings of $1.64 per share on $19.75 billion in sales easily surpassing the $1.51 per share and $19.15 billion expected, respectively. Led by organic sales growth in Fabric/Homecare, Healthcare and Grooming Products put the drugstore retailer and Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)-rated stock ahead of expectations in the quarter. Shares are up 6.7% over the past six months, but are still beneath the all-time highs reached in October of last year. For more on PG's earnings, click here.

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