The Fed’s new quantitative easing plan was recently unveiled; a $600 billion dollar injection into the U.S. bond markets in hopes of jump-starting our struggling economy. While some U.S. officials, like Fed Chair Ben Bernanke have stood behind the plan, it would appear that many of the leaders from around the world are not so supportive of it. Many of the G-20 leaders, who will meet tomorrow in Seoul, have been quick to criticize the policies of the central bank for artificially manipulating the value of the dollar through QE2. With these leaders arguing as to how this move will effect the economic standing of economies across the world, data from individual companies will be especially crucial to see how they could stand up to the possible devaluation of the greenback heading into 2011.
Today, well before market open, will see the third quarter earnings report from ING Group, the world’s largest banking company by revenues. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Dutch bank has branches in over 40 countries, and has more than 85 million clients. The company is best known for its financial services, but it also owns branches in retail banking, insurance, and investment banking operations. With the euro enduring a rapid devaluation earlier this year, and the dollar now set to possibly drop, ING’s report may be overshadowed by concern in the financial industry as a whole especially given the somewhat unstable nature of the euro zone and its peripheral members who seem to be on the verge of a debt default crisis.
Analysts estimate the banking giant to haul in EPS of $0.37 per share, a step down from the $0.44 EPS from last quarter. Investors should note that ING has missed expectations for the last five fiscal quarters, setting an unfortunate trend in this firm’s earnings reports. If ING is able to meet their marks tomorrow, their share price may see a gain; but with the worry over the U.S. dollar and currencies around the world mounting, a solid earnings report could be nixed by an uncertain future in the form of a warning on profits next quarter.
In light of this major earnings announcement, today’s ETF to watch will be the iShares MSCI Netherlands Index Fund (EWN). This fund tracks the MSCI Netherlands Investable Market Index, which measures the performance of the Dutch equity market. ING accounts for 13% of this ETF, and the fund focuses the majority of its assets on the consumer goods (33%), and financials (17%) sectors. So far this year, EWN has returned 2.4% while paying out a strong dividend of 3%. If ING’s report comes in light, look for this fund to endure a rough trading day, but if ING hits their marks, and their outlook is stable, look for EWN to reap the benefits.
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
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