Earnings Reports That Matter Most This Season

The results of these 14 companies will help forecast the big picture for key industries and sectors.

If you’re uneasy about your stock investments, here’s encouraging news: The next round of earnings reports is ready to roll. For the rest of July and through most of August, thousands of U.S. companies will reveal how they’re doing and what they expect over the balance of the year. Those reports will provide a view from the trenches about the shape of the U.S. economy and a recovery that appears to be flagging and that millions of American believe is nonexistent.

But unlike employment, earnings are a bright spot in the economic picture. The quarterly profit trend has been bullish since mid 2009. Partly, that’s because earnings were so depressed during the Great Recession and it was easy for companies to show terrific quarter-over-quarter comparisons. But that game is starting to end. According to analysts tracked by Thomson Reuters, second-quarter earnings for companies in Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index should come in, on average, about 10% higher than year-earlier profits.

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Jeffrey R. Kosnett
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance
Kosnett is the editor of Kiplinger's Investing for Income and writes the "Cash in Hand" column for Kiplinger's Personal Finance. He is an income-investing expert who covers bonds, real estate investment trusts, oil and gas income deals, dividend stocks and anything else that pays interest and dividends. He joined Kiplinger in 1981 after six years in newspapers, including the Baltimore Sun. He is a 1976 journalism graduate from the Medill School at Northwestern University and completed an executive program at the Carnegie-Mellon University business school in 1978.