(By Rich Bieglmeier) Stocks can't seem to stay in positive territory. At Wednesday's opening bell, bulls trotted out to the front and pulled stocks higher, but as the day wore on, sellers took over, again. iStock is eyeing 13,000 for the Dow, 1,400 for the S&P, and 2.950 for the NASDAQ as initial points of rest for the sliding indexes.
One big earnings announcement and two key economic reports will take center stage in the two days. The results will help determine if the correction is shallow and near complete, or just starting on the path lower.
Durable Goods Orders will be released before the open this morning. Wall Street anticipates a solid rebound to an increase of 7% from last month's disappointing change of -13.2%. We suspect 7% might be a high hurdle to clear based readings going back to 2008 and the trend line since November 2009.
After the market closes, Apple Inc. (AAPL) will report its 4th quarter and full 2012 results. Wall Street expects the tech titan to earn $8.81 per share. Apple has missed two of the last four quarters. Based on early iPhone 5 sales indications, weak at Verizon (VZ) and "disappointing" first weekend sales means another miss could be on the table.
iStock will talk more Friday's GDP report, tomorrow. Hopefully, Durable Goods and AAPL earnings surprise to the upside to help lift stocks out of the doldrums – fingers crossed.
So far, third quarter earnings have been solid. The problem has been forward guidance as many brand-name companies slashed their fourth quarter outlooks. With 25% of S&P 500 companies reporting to date, sales are up 1.65%, operating profits increased by 8.77%, and as reported eps gained 9.43%. Without the gloomy forecasts, the equity markets would probably be rocking on the strength of current results.
That's it for today; see you tomorrow with our iEstimates. This week has been good for the companies that made last week's list. We'll have more on that tomorrow, too.