4 Stocks Investors Should Watch This Morning

Despite a lack of high-profile earnings announcements today, investors will have plenty to react to this morning following an earnings report from Dow component Alcoa and a number of other marquee announcements. Here's a snapshot of where U.S. futures markets stood as of this writing.

Futures Index




Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEX: ^DJI)




S&P 500 (INDEX: ^GSPC)








Shares of Dow component Intel (NAS: INTC) are down about 1% in premarket trading following the company's announcement that it is investing up to $4.1 billion in Dutch chip-equipment maker ASML Holding NV. The move is expected to help ASML make a number of technological changes that will accelerate the development of a burgeoning semiconductor manufacturing process called "extreme ultraviolet lithography."

Intel competitor AMD had news of its own to share yesterday afternoon, this time adding to the negative vibes by warning that second-quarter earnings would be lower than expected after revenue fell about 11%, versus low-end guidance for flat revenues. While the company cited weakness in China and Europe as the culprits, this miss appears to have as much to do with execution relative to competitors. Shares are down more than 9% in premarket trading.

Shares of MAKO Surgical (NAS: MAKO) are poised to take a dive this morning following a cut to its outlook for sales of the RIO Robotic Arm surgical platform. The company now expects to sell 42 to 48 systems in 2012, versus prior guidance of 52 to 58. With a number of secular tailwinds supporting the use of its orthopedic surgery solution, it remains to be seen if MAKO is feeling the impact of reduced hospital capital spending or if there are broader execution problems to be addressed.

Lastly, Alcoa kicked off the unofficial start to earnings season after the market closed yesterday, beating tempered expectations but falling short of offering anything to sway the consensus that this earnings season will be a rough one. According to estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters, earnings growth for the average S&P 500 company is expected to be 5.7%, down from 9.2% growth expected in early April. Most of that growth comes from Bank of America's (NYS: BAC) lapping an easy comparable period last year, when it posted horrendous results after being forced to repurchase mortgages it had underwritten. Excluding financial-sector growth of 53.5%, earnings are expected to fall by 0.5%.

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At the time thisarticle was published Brenton Flynn owns no shares of the companies mentioned above. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel, MAKO Surgical, and Bank of America Corporation Com.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of MAKO Surgical and Intel. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools may not 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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