It's a royal-free Friday on CNBC. No weddings, just our own type of drama ahead of the annual Berkshire Hathaway getaway. Throw in some blue chip earnings and a high-profile guidance cut. Here's what we're watching…
Investors will come from far and wide to this weekend's Woodstock for Capitalists. Unfortunately for David Sokol, he got stuck under a bus on the way. Truly, the cloud surrounding Sokol's departure from Berkshire Hathaway will be the dominant topic at the company's annual meeting, clouding the typically celebratory weekend. Not only are there questions about reputational damage to the seemingly unimpeachable holding company, but the loss of Warren Buffett's heir apparent raises the issue of Berkshire's succession plan.
Caterpillar Flying High: Having beaten earnings estimates in each of the last eight quarters, Caterpillar shareholders are hoping for more of the same when the manufacturer delivers quarterly results Friday morning. No surprise then that Caterpillar is trading near an all-time high. The target from Wall Street is $1.31 a share, buoyed by continued recovery of the global economy.
Chevron Pumping Profits: In case you missed it Thursday, ExxonMobilmade a whole lot of money. With quarterly profits topping off near the $11 billion mark, it's apparent that not everyone's feeling pain at the pump. Integrated energy giant Chevron follows Friday, when it reports numbers of its own. The consensus forecast calls for earnings per share of $3.00. Like Caterpillar, Chevron's stock is well within touching distance of an all-time high.
Ben Again: The Fed news conference is in the rear view mirror, and everyone has an opinion on how Bernanke acquitted himself. That said, markets clearly viewed the glorified Fed day as a green light for equities and a path for a continued falling dollar. Well, Chairman Ben steps back up to the podium Friday, speaking in Arlington, Virginia. He's not expected to make much news (the topic is "Community Development"), but we always keep our eyes on him.
RIM Gets Whacked: Following the near-universal thumbs-down given to its recently released PlayBook tablet, Research in Motionlowered its first quarter earnings guidance late Thursday, leading to an after-hours sell-off. Not a lot going right for the Canadian company of late. Is it too early to consider RIM a takeout target? Shares will be in focus during Friday trading.