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Corporate earnings back in focus

JPMorgan is among the big companies to release

JPMorgan is among the big companies to release earnings numbers this week. Credit: J.P. Morgan is among the big companies to release earnings numbers this week.

Since the start of 2013, domestic stocks have performed impressively, with the Dow Jones Index achieving numerous record highs.

However, the stock market started to slow down in the past week, especially after a really poor jobs report came out last Friday, revealing that the economy added only a disappointing 88,000 jobs in March. For the market rally to continue, Wall Street is hoping that the start of the first-quarter earnings season this week will provide good news.

Among the notable companies set to report their January-to-March results include big banks J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo, industrial giant Alcoa, and retail bellwethers Bed Bath & Beyond and Family Dollar Stores.

On the whole, economists expect this earnings season to disappoint, with most companies projected to report weak results in large part because weak demand from Europe.

Over the weekend, Goldman Sachs’ chief economist Jan Hatzius even issued a warning to its clients that the U.S. economy is “losing steam as winter turns into spring.”

Another important piece of economic data we will receive this week is the retail sales report for March. So far this year, consumers have not shied away from spending even with the payroll tax increase, which is good for the economic recovery.

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