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Q4 2018 Earnings Reports in Focus

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In observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s birthday, markets are closed today. Not only that, but no economic indicators are scheduled to be released today, either — even those that wouldn’t be otherwise affected by the partial government shutdown, now into its fifth week with no signs of coming to an end.

What we also see this morning — or rather, are not seeing — are new earnings reports coming out either this morning or this afternoon. This will concentrate the number of reports into the four remaining days of this trading week, and as such will really see results piling up. Big names such as IBM (IBM - Free Report) , Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report)  and Ford Motor Company (F - Free Report)  are among the big names we expect to be hearing from this week.

Our current Q4 earnings season is unfolding along reasonable positive expectations. However, as Zacks Director of Research Sheraz Mian pointed out on Friday, the growth pace of earnings expectations for the quarter has come way down from what we’d seen in the past two quarters. Part of this is no doubt due to the difficult comps from Q4 2017, which helped push markets to all-time highs last year, before crashing down on fears of a prolonged and painful U.S./China trade war.

Apart from coming Q4 reports, economic metrics will be in relatively short supply this week, and not only due to the longest government shutdown in our nation’s history. Existing Home Sales is scheduled for release tomorrow, then nothing further until weekly Initial and Continuing Jobless Claims come out Thursday morning. Also on Thursday, PMI Manufacturing and Services numbers for January hit the tape, as will Economic Indicators from December. Friday’s scheduled Durable Goods Orders, Core Capital Equipment Orders and New Home Sales will not be reported as scheduled, assuming the shutdown continues through the end of this week.

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