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Third-quarter earnings overall have been better than expected.
With some 244 companies reporting, the S&P 500 Index is on pace to post earnings growth of 6%. That's up from growth projections of 5.6% at the start of the week and 4.5% before earnings began.
Today brings results from a couple of energy behemoths, a healthcare giant, and more.
6 Hot Stocks to Watch Friday
Hot Stocks to Watch No. 1: Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) will release Q3 results at 8:00 a.m. Friday. The oil titan is expected to post earnings per share (EPS) of $1.75, down from $1.79 in the same quarter a year ago. Whisper numbers have XOM missing EPS estimates by $0.06. The slumping price of oil is just one problem weighing on XOM. The company's production levels have steadily declined for the last five years. XOM has taken on debt to finance its dividend and share buybacks. Further, a number of XOM's forward growth projects are in Russia, but the company is pulling out amid geopolitical issues. XOM has a mean analyst recommendation of "Hold," according to Zacks. Shares are down 7.12% year to date.
Hot Stocks to Watch No. 2: Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) posts Q3 results before the open. Analysts expect the oil giant to report EPS of $2.59, down $0.02 from a year ago. Whisper numbers have CVX missing EPS by $0.08. At $116, shares are down 7% year to date. Still, CVX has fared better than the overall energy sector, which is down roughly 13% over the same time. CVX looks cheap on a valuation level, with shares trading at a P/E ratio of 11. Also making it attractive are CVX's 3.68% yield and history of annual dividend growth for the last 28 consecutive years. The mean analyst recommendation on CVX is "Buy." The median price target is $136.