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  4. Earnings season is here. These are the biggest storylines the market is watching.

Earnings season is here. These are the biggest storylines the market is watching.

Dan DeFrancesco   

Earnings season is here. These are the biggest storylines the market is watching.
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Welcome back! We're ready to crown a winner in our first business, tech, and innovation bracket: the US presidential election (51.4%) surpassed the AI race (48.6%).

Speaking of the election, former President Donald Trump's hush-money trial is set to start jury selection today.

In today's big story, we're looking at what to expect during a critical earnings season.

What's on deck:

But first, things are getting silly again.


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The big story

All eyes on EBITDA

Earnings season is upon us, and it's a big one.

Last week's hot inflation report delayed hopes for a long-awaited rate cut, leaving some wondering if a recession is back in the cards.

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon issued a warning in the bank's earnings report Friday.

"There seems to be a large number of persistent inflationary pressures, which may likely continue. And finally, we have never truly experienced the full effect of quantitative tightening on this scale," Dimon said.

The markets do have an antidote: strong earnings. When interest rate cuts were delayed earlier this year, concerns were quickly washed away thanks to companies largely reporting impressive numbers.

But as the old saying goes, past performance is not indicative of future results.

With so much at stake, here's an earnings season cheat sheet of when some of the biggest companies are reporting and the storylines to follow.

Finance

  • Key Companies: Goldman Sachs (April 15), Bank of America (April 16), Blackstone (April 18).

  • Themes to watch: AI could reduce the number of junior bank employees thanks to the tech automating their grunt work. With interest rates remaining high, the threat of private credit, or non-traditional lenders, remains a risk or opportunity depending on where you sit on the Street.

Tech

  • Key Companies: Meta (April 24), Microsoft (April 25), Alphabet (April 25), Apple (May 2), Nvidia (May 22), Amazon (TBA).

  • Themes to watch: Will demand for Nvidia's chips finally subside? Can Apple turn things around? Where do Microsoft and Alphabet stand in the AI race? Will Meta and Amazon continue their efficiency pushes to cut costs? There are plenty of questions about tech's biggest players. Their prominent role in the market means people will be watching for answers.

Retail

  • Key Companies: Walmart (May 16), Target (May 22), Costco (May 30).

  • Themes to watch: The resilient American consumer kept the economy afloat despite inflation and high rates. Reports from big-box retailers offer perspectives on if they're losing steam.

Media

  • Key Companies: Netflix (April 18), Disney (May 7), Paramount Global (April 29).

  • Themes to watch: Netflix was dubbed the king of streaming earlier this year after a big earnings report. (Don't sleep on YouTube!) Disney is licking its wounds after a brutal proxy fight with one giant unanswered question remaining: Who will be CEO Bob Iger's successor? Paramount's future remains up in the air as deal talks ramp up.

Others

  • Key Companies: Tesla (April 23), Boeing (April 24).

  • Themes to watch: Tesla's still looking for a win in 2024 as trends in the EV market shift against it. Pressure mounts on Boeing, leaving the airline industry scrambling.


News brief

Your Monday headline catchup

A quick recap of the top news from over the weekend:


3 things in markets

1. The M&A market is under siege. JPMorgan CFO Jeremy Barnum pointed to "headwinds from the regulatory environment" as a reason M&A momentum might not pick up. The bank's earnings report beat analysts' expectations, but advisory revenues were down 21% year-over-year.

2. Stay ahead amid a market shift. Market strategists outlined how to invest as market sentiment gets negative. Investing in defensive sectors like consumer staples and healthcare were some of the strategies experts recommend.

3. Not all that glitters is gold. The precious metal has surged to hit a new all-time high in 2024 — but it's not the only commodity performing well this year. Oil, cocoa, and copper have also racked up big gains as the market enters what Carlyle's Jeff Currie is calling a "classic late-cycle rally."


3 things in tech

1. Tesla is laying off more than 10% of its workforce. The EV maker is the latest major company to make job cuts, according to an internal memo sent by CEO Elon Musk on Sunday, which was seen by BI. "There is nothing I hate more, but it must be done. This will enable us to be lean, innovative and hungry for the next growth cycle," Musk said.

2. Healthcare startup valuations are coming back to earth — except in AI. Healthcare deals are picking back up again, and they don't look like they did before the downturn. But some VCs are concerned many healthtech startups are "AI washing" to get extra funding.

3. Apple fans are eager for any sign of its AI intentions. The company's shares rose more than 4% last week after news it plans to revamp its Mac lineup with an AI-focused chip. It's a sign investors are hoping AI might help save what's shaping up to be a rough year for the tech giant.


3 things in business

1. The hidden cost of leaving a big city. Americans fled big coastal cities in droves during the pandemic — and that number has only stayed steady in the years since. But while people chase affordability in smaller towns, moving away from a major city might be terrible for your career.

2. The fallout from the office apocalypse is just getting started. With federal funds drying up and remote work affecting revenue, cities and states across the United States are facing a nasty budget crunch.

3. Iran's attack on Israel could be bad news for Russia. Michelle Grisé, a senior policy researcher at the American think tank RAND, said on Thursday that a crisis in the Middle East could hamper Russian arms supplies and boost China's own influence in the region.


In other news

What's happening today


The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. George Glover, reporter, in London. Grace Lett, associate editor, in Chicago.




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