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Waiting for Profit Warnings

Posted by: Ben Steverman on July 2, 2008

So far, it’s been a relatively quiet week on Wall Street. But the calm is deceptive because the market is going through a crucial quarterly waiting period, right after the end of the quarter but before companies start reporting results. Every morning, we could wake up to a big bellwether stock warning investors its second quarter earnings will fall short of expectations.

So far a jittery market has been blessed with relatively few rude awakenings. One exception is UnitedHealth Group (UNH), which issued a profit warning this morning.

Georges Yared (his blog is here) told me a few days ago that pre-announcements are what he’s watching very closely this week and early next week. If there is a weak pre-announcement season — meaning that relatively few companies issue warnings — “that will be bullish” for the market, he said.

So far it’s been quiet and the stock market has held up, but corporations still have several days left to scare investors. Alcoa (AA) kicks off earnings season on Tuesday, July 8th.

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Bloomberg Businessweek’s Ben Steverman focuses on the latest moves in financial markets and emerging trends in stocks, bonds, and funds, always with an eye toward giving readers a better understanding of the sometimes confusing and often chaotic world of money. Standard & Poor’s senior index analyst Howard Silverblatt will also provide his take on companies’ finances and the markets. Voted one of the “Top 100 Finance Blogs” in 2007.

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