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So far 71.4% of companies in the S&P 500 Index have topped Q3 earnings forecasts, better than the long-term average of 63%. Q3 earnings growth is currently on track for a gain of 7.7%.
Wednesday's hot stocks to watch include a credit card giant, a health insurer, a food and beverage manufacturer, and more…
Eight Hot Stocks to Watch on Wednesday
Hot Stocks to Watch No. 1: Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) will report fiscal Q4 results after today's closing bell. Wall Street is looking for the credit card giant to post earnings per share (EPS) of $2.10, up from $1.85 in the same quarter a year ago. Whisper numbers are for EPS of $2.12. Revenue is seen climbing 5% year over year (YOY) to $3.15 billion. Visa last week hiked its quarterly dividend 20%, or $0.08, to $0.48 a share. Analysts are bullish on Visa, with 19 "Buys" and five "Holds." Shares are off 4.16% year to date.
Hot Stocks to Watch No. 2: WellPoint Inc. (NYSE: WLP) reports Q3 numbers before today's open. Forecasts are for EPS of $2.27 a share, up substantially from $2.10 in the same quarter a year ago. Whisper numbers are even more bullish at EPS of $2.38. The health insurer's strong membership is expected to have driven results, thanks to affordable healthcare expansion. Shares are up 30.25% year to date.
Hot Stocks to Watch No. 3: Kraft Foods Group Inc. (Nasdaq: KRFT) reports Q3 results after the close. Expectations are for EPS of $0.74, up from $0.70 in the same quarter a year ago. Whisper numbers are for EPS of $0.77. Revenue is seen rising 12% YOY to $822 million. "With evidence the U.S. food industry remains challenged, we expect the focus to be on volume, elasticity, and promo efficiency. We look for questions around input costs vs. productivity programs. Lastly, investors will likely look for guidance on industry trends and question how or if (after several years) Kraft is rebuilding brand equity," Deutsche Bank wrote last week in a report of food stocks. Shares are up 5.58% year to date.