First-Quarter Earnings 2012

First-quarter 2012 earnings reports are being released all week. What’s the news for investment and how does it continue to affect homeowners and the housing market?

The first-quarter corporate earnings reports for 2012 are rolling in and the week has included some surprises on both the upside and the down. With last week’s news that non-farm payrolls grew by a meager 120,000 jobs in March, investors and the unemployed alike look for robust earnings reports as a sign of continued recovery and better prospects ahead. The unemployment rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is holding relatively steady at 8.2 percent, with some 12.7 million Americans looking for work.

There is some good news for a much-maligned Wall Street. Reuters is reporting that “Bank of America Corp posted better-than-expected first-quarter earnings on Thursday in the latest sign that the No. 2 U.S. bank is moving past the mortgage troubles that have hobbled it since the financial crisis.” The bank, like competitors JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo, reaped the benefits of lucrative corporate loans. Its stock is up 58 percent this year.

In the competitive telecommunications market, it was also a good week for wireless provider Verizon, which posted first-quarter earnings and revenue that exceeded expectations. Average monthly revenue per user rose 3.6 percent, compared to the 3 percent predicted by analysts.

But it’s not fun to be Black & Decker at the moment – or its shareholders. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that “first-quarter earnings fell 23 percent as higher expenses weighed on the tool maker’s bottom-line results, though revenue improved. Shares slid 3.9 percent, to $75.46 after hours, as adjusted earnings missed analyst expectations.” The anemic report is also being attributed to stale growth in the do-it-yourself segment, an indication that homeowners already struggling with mortgage payments simply do not have the extra cash for improvement projects.

Continuing the bad news for housing-related industries, Stanley Furniture Company, Inc.  reported a first quarter operating loss of almost $1 million, but that’s a huge improvement from the same period last year, when the company shed $3.4 million. According to piece on Yahoo Finance published Tuesday, Glenn Prillaman, President and Chief Executive Officer said, “We are pleased with our continued progress operationally and our first quarter of positive year over year sales growth since 2006.”

There’s a lot more to come with major companies like General Electric, McDonald’s Royal Caribbean Cruises set to release reports tomorrow, April 20. How do you think the week will end?

 


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