Here comes the Big Tech profit party

1. Tech superstars: Four of the tech world's brightest stars are poised to lavish Wall Street this w...

Posted: Jan 28, 2018 11:57 PM
Updated: Jan 28, 2018 11:57 PM

1. Tech superstars: Four of the tech world's brightest stars are poised to lavish Wall Street this week with blockbuster profits.

The reaction to the quarterly financials from Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook could tip the scales in the ongoing race to become America's first $1 trillion company.

Apple, currently sporting a market valuation of $870 billion, is expected to reveal a stunning $19.6 billion quarterly profit when it reports results on Thursday. Shares in Apple, already the world's largest company, have surged 40% over the past year.

Wall Street is hoping CEO Tim Cook drops more hints about how exactly Apple will spend the mountain of foreign profits it plans to return to America because of the new tax law. Apple recently pledged to invest $30 billion in U.S. facilities and create 20,000 jobs. But analysts anticipate a sizable chunk of the overseas cash will be used to reward shareholders with massive share buybacks and a fatter dividend.

Amazon hasn't slowed down in 2018. After climbing 56% last year, Amazon's shares have already ripped nearly 20% higher this year. The spike has made Amazon founder Jeff Bezos the richest person in history.

Wall Street analysts are practically falling over themselves to predict more glory for Amazon, which hits the earnings stage on Thursday as well.

Daniel Ives, head of technology research at GBH Insights, gushed in a recent report that Amazon has "eye-popping" momentum heading into 2018 thanks to its "iron grip" on e-commerce.

Morgan Stanley raved about Amazon's booming advertising business in a report on Friday, saying its bull case on Amazon is now "in play." If that happens, the company's stock, now at about $1,400 a share, could eventually go to $2,100. That target would lift Amazon's market value above $1 trillion, compared with $673 billion today.

Related: This is the calmest stock market rally in history

Google owner Alphabet is much closer to $1 trillion than Amazon. Shares of Alphabet, the king of the online ad world, have soared 12% this year, lifting its market value to $818 billion.

Facebook's earnings call on Thursday could be a bit more sober than its tech darling peers. The social networking behemoth has come under fire over Russian propaganda, fake news and social media addiction. Mark Zuckerberg and his lieutenants will need to calm investor angst about Facebook's ability to navigate this suddenly treacherous landscape.

Don't forget about Microsoft and its surging cloud business. The Seattle company is already sporting a market value of three-quarters of a trillion dollars.

2. The State of the Union: President Trump will speak to the nation during his State of the Union Address on Tuesday.

Trump has plenty of reasons to boast about the economy. The United States added 2 million jobs in 2017, and GDP grew by 2.3% -- below Trump's 3% target, but well above the 1.5% growth in 2016. The stock market has broken record after record. And some companies have cheered the tax overhaul by announcing investments and giving bonuses and raises to employees.

Trump may also reiterate his tough stance on trade: NAFTA talks continue without much progress, and the White House decided to add tariffs on foreign washing machines and solar panels.

Investors will be listening for an outline of the president's infrastructure plan.

Related: U.S. economy picked up in 2017, but growth slowed at year's end

3. Yellen's goodbye: On Tuesday and Wednesday, Janet Yellen will oversee her last Federal Open Market Committee meeting as Fed chair. She'll relinquish her post to Jerome Powell on February 3.

Next week will be Yellen's last at the Fed. She's had an impressive run. Yellen rose through the ranks of the central bank, starting as a Fed governor in the 1990s. In 2014, she became the first woman to lead the Fed.

She's leaving the central bank in good shape, and Powell is poised to continue her plan of slowly lifting interest rates. Three hikes are likely to come this year, but don't expect one next week.

Related: Jerome Powell confirmed as next Federal Reserve chair

4. Jobs and consumer confidence: January's jobs numbers are coming on Friday. In December, the economy added 148,000 jobs -- the 87th straight month of gains. Plus, unemployment was at its lowest level in 17 years, and Americans aren't worried about losing their jobs. That could help explain why consumer confidence has been so high.

We'll see on Tuesday whether the trend continues when the Conference Board reveals its latest confidence index.

January's auto sales, which are set to be released on Thursday, will give investors another look at the strength of an important business sector.

Related: U.S. consumer confidence remains near 17-year high

5. Earnings, earnings, earnings: It's another star-studded week for earnings. Lockheed Martin plans to release on Monday, followed by Harley-Davidson, McDonald's, Aetna and Electronic Arts on Tuesday. On deck for Wednesday are Anthem, AT&T, Microsoft, eBay, PayPal, Mondelez and Facebook. Plus, Alphabet, Apple, Time Warner, Hershey, UPS, MasterCard, Ralph Lauren, Visa and Mattel are coming on Thursday.

The toymaker is one to keep an eye on: Rumors of a merger with Hasbro sent its stock soaring this week.

Related: Hasbro-Mattel merger rumor just won't die

6. Coming this week:

Monday -- Lockheed Martin earnings

Tuesday -- State of the Union; Harlye-Davidson, McDonald's, Aetna and Electronic Arts earnings

Wednesday -- Anthem, AT&T, Microsoft, eBay, PayPal, Mondelez and Facebook earnings

Thursday -- Apple, Time Warner, Hershey, UPS, MasterCard, Ralph Lauren, Visa, Mattel, DowDuPont and ConocoPhillips earnings

Friday -- U.S. jobs report

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 34830

Reported Deaths: 2143
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9900581
Lake3639190
Allen166269
Cass15877
Elkhart132228
St. Joseph128634
Hendricks117171
Hamilton116293
Johnson1115109
Madison59359
Porter54328
Bartholomew51535
Clark50541
LaPorte43824
Howard41528
Tippecanoe4143
Jackson3921
Delaware38539
Shelby37322
Hancock34027
Floyd31839
Boone31535
Vanderburgh2822
Morgan28024
Montgomery24517
Noble23721
White2378
Clinton2331
Decatur22431
Grant21323
Dubois1993
Harrison19422
Henry18411
Greene16925
Vigo1698
Dearborn16821
Warrick16628
Monroe16612
Lawrence16524
Kosciusko1501
Miami1401
Putnam1377
Jennings1304
Orange13022
Scott1203
Marshall1112
Franklin1108
Ripley1096
Carroll932
Daviess9216
Wayne855
LaGrange842
Steuben842
Wabash792
Fayette787
Newton7810
Jasper681
Jay530
Washington521
Clay511
Fulton491
Randolph483
Rush472
Pulaski460
Jefferson451
Whitley433
Starke393
DeKalb371
Sullivan361
Owen351
Perry330
Brown331
Wells320
Benton310
Huntington282
Knox280
Blackford262
Tipton251
Crawford240
Fountain212
Switzerland200
Spencer201
Parke180
Gibson172
Adams171
Posey160
Ohio130
Warren121
Martin110
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0167

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 121234

Reported Deaths: 5412
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook784953658
Lake8408292
DuPage7765374
Kane6404178
Will5613277
Winnebago229055
McHenry158572
St. Clair115282
Kankakee91548
Kendall80419
Rock Island66124
Champaign6457
Madison59460
Boone46317
DeKalb4184
Sangamon35029
Jackson28910
Randolph2694
Peoria2389
McLean22013
Ogle2113
Stephenson2092
Macon19419
Clinton18617
Union15511
LaSalle15313
Whiteside14213
Iroquois1324
Coles12715
Out of IL1181
Warren1170
Jefferson10116
Knox1010
Grundy992
Monroe9612
Unassigned930
McDonough8911
Lee811
Cass730
Tazewell735
Henry690
Williamson672
Pulaski560
Marion500
Jasper457
Macoupin452
Adams441
Perry410
Vermilion401
Montgomery391
Morgan361
Christian354
Livingston342
Jo Daviess320
Douglas280
Jersey241
Fayette213
Woodford212
Ford201
Menard200
Mason180
Washington180
Hancock170
Mercer170
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll152
Schuyler130
Bond121
Franklin120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Logan110
Moultrie110
Piatt110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Johnson90
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Effingham71
Massac70
Saline70
Greene50
Marshall50
Wabash50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
White20
Calhoun10
Edgar10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Terre Haute
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 80°
Robinson
Clear
82° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 82°
Indianapolis
Few Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 79°
Rockville
Clear
80° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 80°
Casey
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 80°
Brazil
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 80°
Marshall
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 80°
Sunny and Hot!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events