Stocks got off on the wrong foot this week as it was announced that the Spanish economy had entered another recession on top of their already threatening debt crisis. While investors would like to focus on the generally positive earnings on the home front, any news about Spanish debts will trump all else in the markets. As for the U.S. economy, our first quarter growth slowed more than expected, leading some to believe that we are losing steam in our recovery efforts. For now, the latter half of earnings season will be one of the most significant market movers, as a number of the world’s largest firms detail their most recent quarter’s results [see also Five Important ETF Lessons (Picture Edition)].
Today will see earnings from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE). The company is headquartered in New York City and produces some of the best-known drugs in the country, including the recently off-patent Lipitor, Lyrica, Celebrex, and many more. PFE is a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and boasts a market cap of $173 billion. The company is the largest drug producer by revenue and is also an investor favorite as it is known for its rather juicy dividend payout [see also When An ETF Distribution Isn’t A Dividend: Explaining Capital Gains].
Analysts are predicting an EPS of 0.56 and revenues just over $15 billion. One of the biggest factors in this report will be how the company will move forward now that Lipitor, the drug that accounted for nearly one fifth of their sales, is off its coveted patent. “Pfizer implemented a groundbreaking strategy to hang onto as much Lipitor revenue as possible until the end of May. That’s when several other generic drugmakers will crowd the market with their own versions, pushing prices way down” writes Linda A. Johnson.
With this major earnings announcement on tap, today’s ETF to watch will be the Health Care Select Sector SPDR (XLV). This fund, which measures the U.S. pharmaceutical sector, reserves PFE as its second-biggest holding, granting nearly 12% of assets to the stock. If PFE misses their estimates or provides a gloomy outlook based on Lipitor, look for the stock and this ETF to take a hit on the day. But a boost in earnings, or the announcement or a higher dividend, a move which some analysts are calling for, could given bullish momentum to both this stock and ETF [see also 12 High-Yielding Commodities For 2012].
Disclosure: Long PFE
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