After a choppy week of trading, markets stumbled out of the gate yesterday, as more European fears and sour earnings led to a massive sell-off. After one of the strongest opening quarters in 14 years, investors are beginning to doubt the strength of stocks and many are pricing in a pullback similar to the ones experienced in 2010 and 2011. The upcoming week will be packed full of data along with earnings from some of the biggest firms in the country and today will be no exception.
Today will see first quarter results from telecom giant AT&T (T). AT&T is the largest telecommunications firm in the country and will be detailing its Q1 results prior to today's market open. T, which currently has a market cap of $181 billion and an ADV just over 26 million, has long been an investor favorite given its massive dividend allocation. The past three months have been relatively quiet for the company, especially given last years Q4, which saw the launch of the iPhone 4S along with the failed takeover of T-Mobile.
Analysts are expecting an EPS of 0.57 with revenues touching $31 billion. "For the first quarter, analysts expect AT&T to report adding a net of about 200,000 subscribers on contract-based plans, which carry the highest monthly fees. That compares to Verizon's (VZ) gain of 501,000″ writes Associated Press. The current EPS estimate is a mirror image of the same quarter in 2011, but analysts are expecting revenues to grow by around 2%. Note that the firm has only missed one earnings mark in the last year and will look to keep it that way today.
In light of this major earnings announcement, today's ETF to watch will be the Dow Jones U.S. Telecommunications Index Fund (IYZ). This ETF, which measures the U.S. telecom market, holds AT&T in its number one spot, with a 17.4% allocation to the bellwether. The fund has over $480 million in assets and an average trading volume just shy of 400,000, giving it a nice liquidity. If AT&T misses their marks today, look for IYZ to take a tumble as it affords a large weight to the telecom giant. But a strong report or good guidance could send both T and IYZ up. This, of course, assumes that nothing else goes wrong on the European front, as any bad news there will more than likely overshadow the results of the earnings release.
Disclosure: Long VZ.
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