Week Ahead Earnings Calendar: Earnings Season Kicks Off! Banks, Alcoa, Retail

We have already seen waves of tempered guidance from many of America's largest companies. Other companies have not said a word about their outlooks. What matters is that this coming week marks the official start of yet one more earnings season. You can expect that companies will have huge caveats regarding the risks around the coming fiscal cliff and over economic uncertainty at home and in international and emerging markets. We have added in the Thomson Reuters consensus data on estimates and for consensus analyst price targets and we have added color on each if applicable.

Alcoa Inc. (NYSE: AA) is set to report earnings on Tuesday afternoon and Wall Street tries to use Alcoa as a bogey for how earnings season will shape up. We have argued that this barometer may be more coincidental rather than cause & effect. Shares have recovered to above $9.10 after a summer low which briefly went under $8.00. Estimates are $0.01 EPS and $5.57 billion in revenue, but that is down from $0.15 EPS and $6.42 billion in revenue a year ago. With all the slowing in Europe, China, and other emerging markets, we wonder if Alcoa will still be able to maintain its stance that industry-wide aluminum revenues will still double by 2020. Analysts have a consensus price target at $10.66 as of Friday.

Yum! Brands Inc. (NYSE: YUM) is also on deck for Tuesday and the slowing China growth will be something keen to watch as Yum! has the most China exposure to its business of almost all large American companies. Estimates are $0.97 EPS and $3.64 billion in revenue versus $0.83 EPS and $3.27 billion in sales a year ago. The annual estimates are $3.26 EPS and $13.9 billion in sales for 2012. With shares down at $66.30, the stock is down from a high of $74.44 and the consensus analyst target is about $76.50 here.

ADTRAN Inc. (NASDAQ: ADTN) is due to report after the close on Wednesday. The problem is that ADTRAN already entered the confessional booth and issued a warning in recent days. Estimates are $0.19 EPS and $171.55 million.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ: COST) is due on Wednesday and will be keen for Wal-Mart and other big box bargain-hunting retailers. Estimates are $1.31 EPS and $31.6 billion in revenue, up from $1.08 EPS and $28.18 billion a year ago. With shares above $102, Costco is effectively close to all-time highs in its share price. The consensus analyst price target is down closer to $96 for this stock.

Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) reports on Thursday morning and will be a key for Kroger and the basic grocery sector. Estimates are $0.43 EPS and $10.24 billion in revenue versus $0.38 EPS and $10.06 billion in sales a year ago. With shares at $16.16, the consensus price target is $18.00 per share.

Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE: WFC) and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) will kick off the earnings reports for banks on Friday morning. Book value is considered a floor for Wells Fargo and a cap for the rest of the money-center banks.

Estimates for Wells Fargo are $0.87 EPS and $21.42 billion in revenue (versus $0.72 EPS and $19.63 billion a year ago. Wells Fargo's book value was listed as $26.06 per share last quarter, which is well under the $36 or share price today. J.P. Morgan's estimates are $1.21 EPS and $24.46 billion in revenue (versus $1.02 EPS and $24.37 billion a year ago). Jamie Dimon's team listed a book value of $48.40 per share last quarter with shares under $42 currently. Look for a final tally on the London Whale trading losses.

This is always the case, but it needs to be said that earnings estimates may change between now and the formal earnings date.

JON C. OGG

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