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Markets Try to Shake Off April Blues

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Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

Pre-market futures are up slightly at this hour. Markets look to rebound off a three-day losing streak on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq; the blue-chip Dow outperformed the field yesterday, closing +0.17%. Major indices are all lower over the past month, from -1.7% (tech-heavy Nasdaq) to -2.9% (small-cap Russell 2000). Year to date, only the Russell is back in the red — the Dow is +0.3%, the S&P is +6.7% and the Nasdaq is +7.2%. Late March highs — including all-time S&P levels — have given way to profit-taking and existential concerns.

Q1 earnings season rolls along. Abbott Laboratories (ABT - Free Report) outperformed expectations on both top and bottom lines in its Q1 report ahead of today’s opening bell. Earnings of 98 cents per share (excluding specific items) surpassed the Zacks consensus by 2 cents (though down from the $1.03 per share reported a year ago), while quarterly sales came in at $10.0 billion even, nicely ahead of the $9.85 billion projected. Full-year earnings guidance narrowed in-line with previous consensus. The Big Pharma company only has one earnings miss in the past five years, and brought a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) into its earnings release.

Dow component Travelers Insurance (TRV - Free Report) , on the other hand, was mixed: earnings of $4.69 per share missed the expected $4.75 by -1.26%, marking the company’s third earnings miss in the past four quarters. Revenues, however, inched past estimates by +0.05% to $11.19 billion in the quarter. This is the fourth-straight quarter of better-than-expected revenue growth. Shares had been up +17% year to date, but shares are selling off -5% before today’s open. For more on TRV’s earnings, click here.

We’ll also see the latest Beige Book release from the Fed this afternoon at 2pm. In the March edition, we saw increased economic activity overall, with only Philadelphia reporting a down-tick for the period. We noted consumer spending down slightly, with price sensitivity at restaurants, hotels, etc. The labor market was up slightly as of last month, and most of this data bears out in subsequent economic prints, from the Fed and elsewhere.

After today’s close, we’ll get new earnings reports from Las Vegas Sands (LVS - Free Report) and CSX Corp. (CSX - Free Report) , as well as Zacks Rank #2-rated SL Green Realty (SLG - Free Report) , a New York-based office REIT. Thursday afternoon, we’ll get the first of the formerly-referred-to FANG stocks when Zacks Rank #3 (Hold)-rated Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) , while next week brings us the next tranche of headline-grabbing firms, including Tesla (TSLA - Free Report) on Tuesday, Meta (META - Free Report) Wednesday and Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) Thursday.

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