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Chicago Econ Numbers & More Q4 Earnings: JNJ, ABT, FITB

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Certain weeks of the year are rife with important information for the stock market — a wealth of weekly/monthly/quarterly economic data, quarterly earnings reports and social and/or geopolitical events with the power to skew investor sentiment in either direction. This is not one of those weeks.

Though the U.S. is undergoing an historic impeachment of President Trump currently, the outcome seems predetermined: along party lines, votes in the Senate about allowing witness testimony or documents supporting the case for impeachment are being summarily dismissed. President Trump himself does not appear concerned with the ongoing situation back home, as he has given his speech to the World’s Economic Forum in Davos.

In Trump’s speech yesterday, he countered arguments of the main theme of this year’s forum at Davos — dealing with global climate change — by calling climate activists “perennial prophets of doom.” This, again, is no surprise; Trump has been consistently on the side of private industry and at odds with the desires of climate scientists. Thus, no real news here, either.

We do see one economic read ahead of today’s opening bell: the Chicago Federal National Index (CFNAI) for December. Results swung to a negative, -0.35 versus a downwardly revised +0.41 in November. This indicates productivity in the U.S.’s third-largest city is moving below trend, (though still within the standard deviation of 1.0). The CFNAI tracks a wide range of regional economic activity such as production, employment, housing and inventories.

In breaking Q4 earnings news, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ - Free Report) beat earnings estimates by 2 cents to $1.88 per share, on sales of $20.75 billion in the quarter, which missed expectations marginally. These results compare to the $1.97 per share a year ago on revenues of $20.39 billion. Shares in the pre-market fell 1.5% on the news, giving back much of its 2.3% year to date. For more on JNJ’s earnings, click here.

Abbott Labs ABT met earnings estimates for its Q4 with 95 cents per share reported, notably higher than the 81 cents posted in the year-ago quarter. Revenues rose 0.63% to $8.31 billion in the quarter, up from the $7.77 billion reported a year ago. Pre-market trading is taking ABT shares up more than 1% at this hour, adding to its 3.3% growth year to date. For more on ABT’s earnings, click here.

Fifth Third Bank FITB, however, posted an earnings miss this morning: 68 cents per share versus the 73 cents estimated. According to the bank, this miss was due to the taking of one-time items which took its otherwise strong quarter to a negative earnings surprise. Revenues of $2.27 billion in the quarter easily surpassed the $1.94 billion in the Zacks consensus, up 37% year over year. For the full year, revenues grew 20%. For more on FITB’s earnings, click here.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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