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Bracing for a Choppy Earnings Season

Terrible weather in January, a spike in gasoline prices in February and a devastating earthquake in Japan in March: any of those three factors can bring a hiccup in earnings and taken together it seems more likely than not that they will.

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While bad weather may have been isolated for Northeast based retailers, the dramatic move up in gas prices was a nationwide phenomena with the power to crimp consumer spending across the board.

And now, the tragedy in Japan seems certain to hurt certain short cycle technology companies that might have been reliant on a component or two from Japan for their finished goods.

As one money manager told me this morning: “It's not a question of whether it will be a choppy earnings season, it will be; it’s a question of whether the market gives companies a free pass for missing earnings.”

As we head into the final two weeks of the first quarter and brace for some earnings warnings, that will be a key question for this market.


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