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“We ended the year on a strong note growing earnings year over year in the 4th quarter in an increasingly slowing economic environment.” – Brian Moynihan

Morning stock market summary

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Earnings season has arrived, and it has made its presence known with a thud.  Of the eight major reports this morning, all but two (Citigroup and Wells Fargo) beat EPS forecasts, and only two (Bank of New York and Wells Fargo) reported weaker-than-expected revenues.  The results don’t appear good enough for investors, though.  Six of the eight companies that reported are trading down in the pre-market, and the two trading higher (Bank of New York and BlackRock) have seen just muted gains.  On the flip side, stocks trading lower in the pre-market have all declined at least 1%, while Wells Fargo and Delta head into the opening bell with declines of over 4%.  Given the weak reactions to earnings, overall equity index futures are also weak and indicating a decline of nearly 1% at the open.  Interestingly, despite the fact that none of the major reports have been related to technology, it’s the Nasdaq that is doing the worst in the pre-market with a decline of over 1%

The fact that these companies have seen their share prices initially react negatively to their reports is a bit of a letdown but remember that collectively they have performed well to start the year.  Except for UNH, all the stocks are positive YTD with gains of at least 3.5%.  Heading into this morning’s report, DAL had rallied more than 20% YTD, so a pullback in response to earnings is completely understandable.  UNH, though, is another story.  Through yesterday’s close, the stock was already down 6.5% YTD and in oversold territory, so the bar didn’t look especially high to begin with.

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