This week saw much choppier trading: Monday, down big; Tuesday, down small; Wednesday, up big; Thursday, modestly down. At the open on Friday, it all adds up to a practically flat week so far.
Still, the S&P 500 is less than three percent from an all-time high.
One bit of good news for U.S. stocks. Oil has been weaker on still-high U.S. stockpiles and a firmer dollar, but it's not taking down the markets. West Texas Intermediate, for example, is down 7.1 percent this week, including another two percent this morning, but the S&P 500 is down only 0.3 percent, though the energy sector is down 2.4 percent.
Still, I remain troubled by the earnings outlook.
Intel lowered its first quarter 2015 revenue guidance from $13.7 billion to $12.8 billion. The announcement rippled through the markets yesterday, and did cause some to lower earnings guidance. As I have noted, weak oil revenues and now the strong dollar is really weighing on earnings expectations for the markets.
S&P 500 earnings estimates (Source: Factset)
- Q1: down 4.9 percent
- Q2: down 1.7 percent
- 2015: up 2.2 percent