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Earnings are currently the main driver of U.S. markets, and with ABBV, MCO, and more reporting today (Friday), the trend is likely to continue.
Indeed, investors have so far shrugged off a barrage of dicey geopolitical issues and a less market-friendly U.S. Federal Reserve. The S&P 500 Index logged its 26th record close of the year Wednesday, on pace for its 27th with Thursday's early gains. That's on top of 46 closing highs last year, when the broad-based benchmark ended the year up a hefty 30%.
Friday ends the busiest week in 2014's second-quarter earnings season. Following are five hot stocks to watch today.
Stocks to Watch: ABBV, MCO, and More
AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) posts Q2 earnings before today's open. Analysts expect the biopharmaceutical company to report earnings per shares (EPS) of $0.76 on revenue of $4.70 billion. That would be up from EPS of $0.71 on revenue of $4.56 billion in Q1. Last week, ABBV announced plans to buy Irish drug giant Shire Plc. (Nasdaq ADR: SHPG) in the biggest tax inversion deal to date. Thursday, U.S. President Barack Obama called for an end to the corporate loophole that allows companies to avoid federal taxes by shifting their tax domiciles overseas in such deals. Nine inversion deals have been agreed to this year by companies that run the gamut from banana distributor Chiquita Brands International Inc. (NYSE: CQB) to ABBV, with more currently under consideration. The transactions are setting a record pace since the first inversion was done 32 years ago.
Moody's Corp. (NYSE: MCO) reports Q2 numbers before Friday's open. Analysts anticipate the credit rating company will post decreased profit, with EPS coming in at $0.99, down from $1.00 in the same quarter a year. The consensus estimate has slipped from three months ago when it was $1.03, yet it remains unchanged over the past month. Q2 revenue is expected to be $802 million, up 6% year over year (YOY). For FY2014, revenue is expected to come in at $3.20 billion. The company has been profitable for the last eight quarters, and for the last four, profit has risen YOY by an average of 14%. The company is known to surprise to the upside. Revenue rose in the last two quarters. In Q1 2014, revenue increased 1% to $767.2 million from the year earlier quarter. In its fourth and final quarter of 2013, the figure rose 3%.
For three more stocks that will be on the move today, keep reading...