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

Terre Haute
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 51°
Robinson
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 45°
Indianapolis
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 42°
Rockville
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 38°
Casey
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 43°
Brazil
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 51°
Marshall
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 51°
Mostly cloudy, a bit warmer.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 350744

Reported Deaths: 9496
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1651985364
DuPage20947598
Lake19546503
Will16898419
Kane15422341
Winnebago9114165
St. Clair7559213
Madison6795152
Champaign568028
McHenry5642120
Peoria424362
McLean386730
Rock Island367088
Unassigned3627260
Sangamon347554
Kankakee316878
Macon256848
Kendall247027
Tazewell240547
LaSalle218460
DeKalb209542
Coles178838
Williamson170958
Boone165524
Adams163315
Clinton158724
Vermilion15417
Jackson143325
Whiteside115222
Randolph114514
Knox10969
Effingham10903
Ogle10527
Grundy8777
Jefferson85844
Monroe84928
Bureau84717
Marion84512
Franklin8406
Stephenson8147
Morgan79624
Henry7945
Christian77125
Macoupin7319
Union73025
McDonough66515
Fayette63019
Crawford6246
Lee6121
Shelby5868
Livingston54910
Montgomery54815
Douglas5458
Logan5434
Woodford54311
Saline5037
Bond4669
Jersey45621
Iroquois45119
Warren4517
Cass44911
Wayne43410
Jo Daviess4275
Perry40616
Fulton4030
Moultrie3755
Carroll3658
Richland31714
Johnson3130
Lawrence3068
Hancock2843
Clay28111
Washington2781
Greene26915
Clark2666
Pike2604
Cumberland2536
Jasper24710
Mason2351
White2351
De Witt2273
Pulaski2261
Mercer2196
Piatt2070
Wabash2055
Ford1799
Menard1591
Massac1412
Edgar1398
Marshall1373
Hamilton1132
Henderson1110
Alexander1081
Gallatin1052
Edwards980
Brown960
Scott930
Putnam850
Schuyler801
Stark792
Calhoun690
Hardin490
Pope361
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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

Confirmed Cases: 149166

Reported Deaths: 3960
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion24564781
Lake13079350
St. Joseph8788157
Elkhart8371132
Allen7815221
Hamilton5923113
Vanderburgh553050
Tippecanoe350914
Monroe319438
Hendricks3140130
Johnson2972127
Porter293248
Clark282157
Delaware279674
Vigo248837
Madison226991
Cass221020
LaPorte213057
Warrick186563
Kosciusko173121
Floyd172766
Howard157466
Bartholomew138657
Dubois133724
Marshall130626
Henry121828
Boone118648
Grant118039
Wayne117123
Hancock114144
Noble111333
Jackson107412
Morgan91540
Dearborn90328
Daviess83732
Gibson82611
Clinton81316
Shelby78329
Lawrence77832
LaGrange76615
Harrison73324
Knox69610
Putnam69515
DeKalb68611
Posey6745
Steuben5888
Miami5765
Fayette57515
Montgomery56422
White56215
Jasper5464
Greene51237
Scott50613
Decatur49439
Adams4645
Whitley4316
Clay4276
Sullivan42412
Ripley4178
Wells4125
Orange38624
Wabash3859
Starke3847
Huntington3695
Spencer3686
Franklin36325
Jennings35913
Washington3512
Randolph3378
Fulton3292
Jefferson3285
Pike31612
Carroll30813
Perry28914
Jay2816
Fountain2743
Tipton26623
Parke2182
Newton21111
Vermillion2111
Rush2034
Owen1991
Martin1950
Blackford1903
Crawford1481
Pulaski1431
Brown1283
Ohio1187
Benton1070
Union1020
Switzerland840
Warren731
Unassigned0233