Earnings and Election Hold Sway, 10/16/12

Last week was the worst week in four months for the market as a closer look at the first earnings reports of the season showed disappointing news lurking under initially positive-looking data. Earnings will continue to hold sway this week as 40% of the Dow companies report.

Last week was a bad week for the market as it got caught up in Europe and the uncertainty of the election (remember, markets like calm environments and this election is up in the air). The second presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney takes place this week, which could unsettle the markets more.

As earnings season kicked off, investors initially were happy with reports out of Alcoa and JP Morgan, but a closer look showed disappointing news leading to the worst week in four months.

Earnings will continue to hold sway this week as 40% of the Dow companies report. Both Johnson & Johnson and Intuitive Surgical report this week. J&J was given a red mark by Goldman Sachs, which downgraded J&J’s stock to a sell. However, Marek thinks Goldman is playing a game with its report on J&J.

Meanwhile GlaxoSmithKline curried some favor with investors by offering more transparency to its clinical trials. Plus, Pfizer and Eli Lilly have uplifting trial news.

If you have any questions for Marek, he can be contacted through Twitter at @MarekFuchs.

Watch past Wall Street Wrap Up videos here.

Marek Fuchs was a stockbroker for Shearson Lehman Brothers before becoming a journalist who wrote The New York Times' "County Lines" column for six years. Marek speaks regularly on business and journalism issues at venues ranging from annual meetings of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers to PBS to National Public Radio. His last book, A Cold-Blooded Business, was called "riveting" by Kirkus Reviews and next book, Local Heroes: Portraits of American Volunteer Firefighters is due out in 2012. He is on the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. When Marek is not writing, teaching or filming videos, he serves as a volunteer firefighter.