Though the fourth-quarter earnings season is only just wrapping up, and reports on first-quarter profits are still a few weeks away, there are still a few things to keep in mind when it comes to corporate results.
First of all, FedEx will report Tuesday after the closing bell. The reason that's important is the courier is considered a strong bellwether of overall economic activity — a busy economy does lots of shipping. A strong report from FedEx would reinforce optimism that growth is accelerating.
The second thing is that quarterly profits are expected to grow nearly 9 percent, according to FactSet. However, corporate executives have been fairly pessimistic so far, with 78 issuing negative guidance warnings, and just 30 giving positive notice.
That's resulted in overall expectations to dim from a 12.3 percent earnings growth expected as of Dec. 31 for the first quarter.
Bottom line: Keep a lookout for what corporate officers are saying about what's ahead.