Stock Earnings Calendar This Week Features Big Banks

Earnings season is kicking into high gear. Five of the country's biggest banks and a key multinational conglomerate top the stock earnings calendar this week.

The bunch will set the tone for the remaining Q1 2015 earnings period.

So far, expectations are muted at best.

Year-over-year (YOY) earnings for the S&P 500 are forecast to decline by 4.8%, according to FactSet. Should the broad-based benchmark post a YOY decline, it will mark the first slip since Q3 2012, when the index fell 1%.

Weighing on this quarter's earnings is the U.S. dollar. The greenback is up roughly 20% versus the euro over the last seven months. The strong dollar is hampering sales and profits at big American multinationals. That has prompted these global giants to emphasize cost cutting, a move that has cramped the broader U.S. economy.

The 50% slide in oil prices since June highs is also pressuring profits. Oil's plunge will bring down revenue and earnings per share (EPS) in energy and energy-related firms.

But with earnings expectations so low, many companies could surprise to the upside.

Indeed, of the 24 companies (5%) that have reported Q1 earnings to date, 20 beat EPS expectations and 12 bested mean sales estimates.

Here's a look at six key earnings reports this week.

Stock Earnings Calendar April 14 – 17, 2015

Company Ticker Earnings Date
Wells Fargo WFC April 14
JPMorgan Chase JPM April 14
Bank of America BAC April 15
Citigroup C April 16
Goldman Sachs GS April 16
General Electric GE April 17

stock earnings calendarWells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) will report Q1 results Tuesday before the bell. Expectations are for EPS of $0.98, down from $1.05 in the same quarter a year ago. Investors will be closely watching lending income, a particular driver for big commercial banks. Lending income at WFC is expected to have been held down by persistently low interest rates, as well as the fact that Q1 had two fewer days to collect interest on loans and securities than Q4. Wells Fargo, the largest mortgage lender in the United States, originates about one in every four home loans. Most of its growth over the last decade has taken place in the space. At $54.51, shares are basically flat year to date. But the darling among big banks is up 70% over the last five years. That's 30% more than its closest big-bank peer, JP Morgan Chase, according to The Wall Street Journal.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is on tap to post Q1 results before Tuesday's open. The largest U.S. bank by assets is expected to post EPS of $1.38, up a dime from the same quarter a year ago. JPM's revenue is expected to rise 6.1% YOY to $24.4 billion. Still, legal expenses and new capital requirements likely pressured profits. Of note in Tuesday's conference call will be how JPM addresses calls to break itself into pieces. At $62.17, shares are down 0.67% year to date.

Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) is scheduled to release Q1 results Wednesday morning. Wall Street is looking for the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets to report EPS of $0.29, up from $0.10 YOY. Revenue is seen slipping 5.5% to $21.51 billion. The absence of $6 billion in legal expenses that BofA took in Q1 2014 is anticipated to have widely helped YOY results. Trading profits could also be a bright spot. Banks like BofA make money when markets jump around. Q1 was jumpy indeed. While March was a bit soft, volatility and volume were brisk during the first two months of the year. BofA could surely use a good quarter after disappointing investors in March. After the Fed's stress test showed some weakness, BofA failed to raise its dividend. At $15.80, BofA shares are down 11.68% year to date.

Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) will report Q1 results Thursday before the open. Expectations are for EPS of $1.38, up from $1.30 in the year-ago quarter. Analysts, however, are guarded heading into the release. Last month, Citi's finance chief said the bank expected trading revenue to fall by a mid-to-high single-digit percentage due in part to a "modest loss" related to swings in the Swiss franc. The New York City-headquartered bank also will likely show it took a hit from the dollar's rise. Half of Citi's revenue comes from outside the United States. Citi hiked its dividend from a penny per share to $0.05 in March and announced a whopping $7.8 billion share buyback program. Shares, at $52.77, are down 2.77% year to date.

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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) will release Q1 earnings Thursday morning. The investment bank is expected to post EPS of $4.20, up from $4.02 YOY. Foreign exchange is expected to have an outsized impact on GS's Q1 results. Foreign exchange makes up about 9% of the overall revenue in fixed-income, currencies, and commodities (FICC) at Goldman. Foreign exchange is also expected to have boosted related business, including interest rate trading. Debt in Switzerland, Denmark, Spain, and Germany has turned negative, making U.S. bonds highly appealing. Goldman goosed its quarterly dividend a nickel per share in March to $0.65. At $196.65, shares are up 1.41% year to date.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) is set to post Q1 results Friday before the open. Analysts project the conglomerate will report EPS of $0.30, down from $0.33 YOY. GE shook up Wall Street Friday when it announced plans to shed most of it finance arm and real estate holdings and repatriate $36 billon of cash held overseas. It also announced a jaw-dropping $50 billion share repurchase program. The moves are expected to return some $90 billion to shareholders by 2018 and mark a pivotal moment for GE. Shares jumped 10.8% to $28.51 on the news. GE will further elaborate on last week's news and tout its long-term benefits on its earnings call. Here's why GE is a Money Morning top pick for 2015.

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