Solid Q4 Earnings Boost Markets
Q4 earnings season even performed better than analysts had hoped for. Of course, we're not completely through the entire cycle - retailers have yet to report en masse, and we see industry leaders like Cisco CSCO , Pepsi PEP and AIG AIG on the docket for this week - but we've seen enough results to know this is the best reporting quarter in the last two years.
In fact, according to Zacks Director of Research Sheraz Mian, Q4 remains on track to be the best earnings quarter ever. It's only the second quarter since we've finally dug out of the earnings recession we'd endured for the previous several quarters in a row. For a comprehensive take on Q4 earnings season, check out Sheraz's Earnings Preview report from Friday: Plenty of Positive Earnings News
Teva Pharmaceuticals TEVA reported a solid quarterly earnings and revenue beat ahead of the opening bell today, citing positive synergies from its acquisition last year of Actavis, which it obtained from Allergan AGN . First Data Corp. FDC also posted better-than-expected earnings during the pre-market today.
Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, appears on Capitol Hill this week, and observers will be playing close attention to whether or not she hints at the possibility of another interest rate hike at the Fed's March meeting. Currently, speculation is for a 17% chance of another quarter-point hike, to an overall Fed funds range of 75-100 basis points. A more hawkish tone from Yellen may help boost those odds.
Market futures are very positive this morning, and continue to climb 20 minutes before the opening bell sounds: the S&P 500 is +6 points, the Dow +60 and Nasdaq +13. These are up from just about 15 minutes ago, when these figures were +4, +50 and +9, respectively.