Earnings Reports That Matter Most

Earnings season is here again.

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Earnings season is here again. Is the quarterly ritual of poring over reports of corporate America’s profit-making prowess still warranted? We think so.

If you’re looking for information about the overall health of corporate America rather than opportunistic trading ideas, earnings reports are still significant. Their value is in the details (pay attention not just to the actual reports but also to the conference calls with company officials and their Wall Street inquisitors). You get to hear what executives are saying or thinking about sales, orders, consumer behavior and more. What we’re eager to learn -- and raw earnings figures don’t say -- is whether the people running these major businesses have bright ideas to revive U.S. economic growth or they’re just hanging on for dear life.

Here are 14 companies whose third-quarter earnings reports deserve special scrutiny, in our judgment. They are listed in order of expected earnings-release date.

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.