The Fed extravaganza in focus, accompanied by an entourage of earnings. Ford, previewed yesterday, set the pace with its best 1st quarter in 13 years. Can Boeing and Conoco-Philips keep up the momentum? In total, a tradable treasure trove Wednesday. Here's what we're watching…
1. Meet the Fed: That's a great YouTube video waiting to happen (to the tune of "Meet the Mets"). Can someone make that happen? Regardless, the Fed will follow the release of an earlied-up 12:30pm ET policy statement with Chairman Ben Bernanke's 2:15pm ET news conference, a watershed moment of transparency for our central bank. The question remains: why? Has Congressional scrutiny gotten so bad the Fed feels extreme measures are necessary to ensure its independence? Whatever the motivation, markets will be glued to Bernanke's every word.
2. Boeing Navigates Turbulence: A 787-program plagued by delays, the Southwest 737 riddled with cracks, and a bearish outlook for defense spending. Boeing has a cabin full of challenges, and we'll learn more about the bottomline impact when the company reports numbers before the market open. Analysts expect the Boeing to report earnings per share of 71 cents. At least they won the never-ending tanker contract, right? More to the point, shares in the aerospace company are up sharply year-to-date.
3. There Will Be Profits: Crude's ascent back into triple digits was an overbearing first quarter subplot. Starting Wednesday, we find out just how richly Big Oil thrived. The likes of ExxonMobil have dodged public vitriol of late, with focus turning to new whipping boys (banks). But, truly, this is the one industry that needs to be careful in talking about making money, lest it invite the wrath of Washington. Petroleum giants Conoco-Philips and BP report numbers Wednesday morning. With Wall Street counting on Conoco to deliver $1.86 per share, the stock could jump above its 52-week high on good news. The same can't be said for BP (still a whipping boy), which is recovering from post-disaster asset sales and trying to manage the threatened exploration and share-swap deal with Rosneft.
4. Trading a Latte: Sure, oil's expensive. But, is it at a 34-year high?! No. Coffee, as it happens, is. Omnipresent chain Starbucks reports quarterly earnings after the market close Wednesday, with a consensus expectation of 34 cents a share (Coincidence?). On the one hand, the company is facing a host of increasing input costs (though Starbucks announced it locked in coffee prices for the rest of the year, in warning about rising costs last quarter). On the other hand, the coffee giant has been on a tear since bottoming out at the end of 2008… and that momentum has the stock in shouting distance of all-time highs.
5. Rating Moody's: Heady days are here again for credit rating agencies. On the heels of a better-than-expected quarter for McGraw-Hill (thanks mostly to S&P), Moody's posts its results Wednesday and analysts are looking for the maligned company to report earnings per share of 54 cents. Will the good times of huge bond issuance continue? Will Moody's stock continue to rally? And did Warren Buffett sell at the bottom? It's got a long way to get back to its lofty pre-crisis heights. Wait, what does it say if Moody's does return to pre-crisis levels? Hmmm.