VERIZONApr. 28, 8:30 a.m. EDTTelcos remain resilient in the face of an unsteady economy. Verizon Communications (VZ) reports its earnings today, and analysts predict a 15% increase from the same quarter last year, bringing earnings per share to 62 cents.
FOMC MEETINGApr. 29, 2:15 p.m. EDTEconomists expect the Fed to cut its federal funds rate by a quarter point, to 2%, at the upcoming Federal Open Market Committee meeting. Given the relative calm in the financial markets following the collapse of Bear Stearns (BSC) and the apparent success of the Fed's new actions to provide liquidity to the credit markets, previous expectations of a larger half-point cut have diminished. The markets will be particularly attentive to the Fed's policy statement for its characterization of the "downside risks to growth," which may indicate how much the Fed is leaning toward further rate cuts.
CONSUMER PRODUCTSApr. 29Avon Products (AVP) and Liz Claiborne (LIZ) come out with their first-quarter earnings reports today. Avon's profits are expected to jump 25%, to 45 cents per share, whereas Claiborne is beginning to feel the pull of a recession. Its earnings per share are expected to drop 50%, from 22 cents to 11 cents.
U.S. OIL COMPANIESApr. 29With oil prices on the rise, analysts predict earnings will be up for U.S. oil companies Hess (HES) and ExxonMobil (XOM). Hess earnings per share are expected to be up 68%, to $1.96. ExxonMobil is expected to post a 30% increase in earnings per share from a year ago, to $2.10.
EURO UNEMPLOYMENTApr. 30, 5 a.m. EDTMarch unemployment figures for the euro zone are released today. Unemployment remained flat from January to February, holding steady at 7.1%. The rate remains high relative to other markets. The labor market in Europe is tight, with costs increasing 2.7% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2007.
KRAFT FOODS (KFT)Apr. 30, 7 a.m. EDTThe food maker is still being hurt by increasing commodity input costs. Earnings per share is expected to be at 41 cents, a 9% drop from the same quarter a year ago.
STARBUCKSApr. 30, 5 p.m. EDTDespite new marketing efforts, Starbucks (SBUX) continues to lose out to cheaper coffee shops and fast-food chains. Analysts predict earnings per share will be at 21 cents for the fiscal second quarter of 2008, a meager 2 cents rise from the same quarter a year ago.
U.S. MANUFACTURINGMay 1, 10 a.m. EDTWith continuing uncertainty in financial markets and the economy, sentiment in manufacturing improved but still signaled a recession. The April Institute for Supply Management figure is expected to be at 50, up from 48.2.
U.S. EMPLOYMENTMay 2, 8:30 a.m. EDTNonfarm payrolls for April are expected to be down another 60,000. The unemployment rate jumped from 4.8% to 5.1% in March and is expected to go up another percentage point in April.