While still down from its 52-week high set on April 2, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI) remains up more than 20% from its 52-week low set back in October. Here's an earnings report that could affect the Dow today, and an overview of markets worldwide.
Dow component American Express (NYS: AXP) will release its first-quarter earnings today, with the average analyst estimate at $1.00 in earnings per share. This would beat last year's first-quarter earnings of $0.97 per share, but it would come in lower than its fourth-quarter earnings of $1.02 per share. This quarter's earnings could be helped out by retail sales for March rising 0.8%, well above the 0.3% increase many expected.
American Express' earnings will come a day after Goldman Sachs (NYS: GS) posted $3.92 in earnings per share, beating analyst expectations of $3.55. Goldman also raised its dividend from $0.35 per share to $0.46, and its stock gained 0.74% yesterday.
Yesterday, European markets cheered on the International Monetary Fund's improved global economic forecast, as well as high demand from a Spanish government bond auction. The FTSE 100 (INDEX: ^FTSE) gained 1.78%. The IMF's report projected the euro area to contract by 0.3% in 2012, better than the 0.5% contraction projected in its previous report. Markets will continue to watch news surrounding Spanish debt, as any negative news could scare off investors.
Further in the week
More data on jobless claims will be released on Thursday. The market expects a slight decrease in initial jobless claims from 380,000 to 375,000, and an increase in continuing claims from 3.25 million to 3.27 million. The economy has yet to reach pre-recession levels for initial claims:
Also released Thursday is March data on existing-home sales, which the market expects to slightly increase to 4.62 million from February's 4.59 million. Housing is looking for any good news, as the builder sentiment index, which blends together information on current sales, expectations, and buyer interest, fell to 25 for March from 28 in February. Nevertheless, Home Depot (NYS: HD) rides the market's expectations that poor home sales can be balanced by more home improvement, and its stock price flirts with its 52-week high.
In the long-run
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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorDan Newmanholds no shares of the companies mentioned above. Follow him on Twitter, where he goes by@TMFHelloNewman.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Goldman Sachs and Home Depot.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a write covered strangle position in American Express. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.
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