Stock Markets Sunk by Weak Earnings Reports


We're in the midst of a busy earnings week, and announcements between yesterday's close and today's open weren't particularly impressive to investors. That caused a broad sell-off, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 0.83% near the end of trading, while the S&P 500 is off 1.35%.

Intel reported a slightly disappointing quarter, with revenue falling 2% to $12.6 billion and earnings per share of $0.40 falling a penny below expectations. The PC business fell 6%, but that's not so bad, given the 14% decline in PC sales reported by IDC earlier this month. Growth in cloud computing helped push data center sales 7.5% higher on a big pickup in server demand. These weren't really impressive numbers, but the stock is up 0.6% today because they could have been much worse. There's still concern about the decline in the PC, but management kept its full-year guidance intact, which indicates a bullish outlook on growth markets like servers and mobile.

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All but four of the 30 Dow components are down today, and banking stocks are the hardest-hit. Bank of America has fallen 4.7% after first-quarter earnings missed estimates. The company reported $0.20 per share in net income -- $0.02 below estimates -- and revenue fell slightly. This sent shockwaves across the big banks, and Dow component JPMorgan Chase has dropped 3.3% in response. JPMorgan reported earnings last Friday that beat expectations, but the miss by Bank of America reminded investors that JPMorgan missed revenue estimates, and fear snuck back into the market.

Both banks are trading at forward P/E ratios of less than nine, so I think investors are looking a little too hard for flaws in the numbers today. Let's keep in mind that Bank of America is up 30.5% over the past year, even after today's drop, so long-term B of A investors are still reaping rewards.

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Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Intel. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Bank of America, Intel, and JPMorgan Chase. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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