1. How forgiving will investors be of companies that pre-announce lower than expected earnings due to Japan or Middle East turmoil? Look at Halliburton warning Tuesday that its Q1 earnings would be "severely" hurt by the recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Expects a 3- to 4-cent negative impact on earnings. Response? Stock is up 2.3 percent.
Look at Halliburton warning Tuesday that its Q1 earnings would be "severely" hurt by the recent unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. Expects a 3- to 4-cent negative impact on earnings. Response? Stock is up 2.3 percent.
That's because there are bigger, macro growth stories. Saudi Arabia has already said it wants oilfield service companies to help quickly boost the country's oil rig count by 30 percent to expand production capacity.
2. Will the global growth story stay intact?
In one sense, it is remarkably simple. China is a principal engine of global demand. That's why commodities are so high. Beijing is trying to reign in growth, but not too much: rather than 9- or 10-percent GDP growth, it is now talking 7-percent growth — but consistently to 2015. It is not an easy economy to manage. Many are arguing that real estate is already in a bubble.
3) Will governments get the Goldilocks inflation they want?
Just enough to slowly reduce the impact of the huge debt load, but not enough to trigger out of control, double-digit inflation? Good luck on this one. Truth is, we have had modest food inflation already, and look what it has done: riots in India, and food inflation was definitely a factor in Middle East unrest.
Q1 earnings will be coming in soon and you can bet you will hear from many companies about the effect of higher commodity costs. Packaging companies, food companies, builders, airlines, chemical companies, will all be talking about it and fretting about how much of the cost they can pass along. Margin compression will be a phrase much heard on the Street.