On Monday, after the close of trading, IBM Corp. (IBM, -1.51%) is scheduled to report first quarter earnings. In the final quarter of 2014, IBM delivered poor results which missed analyst expectations. This decline came as a result of poor sales as the Big Blue is struggling with its transition from more traditional hardware to a software- and cloud-focused company. In 8 of the last quarters, IBM has missed sales expectations seven times. In January, the shares of IBM declined 3% after the company released a weaker than expected full year outlook. For the first quarter, analysts forecast IBM to report non-GAAP earnings of $2.81 and GAAP earnings of $2.82. For the same quarter last year, IBM reported a profit of $2.54 a share. Meanwhile, as a result of Estimize, IBM is expected to report earnings of $2.95 a share in the first quarter. Estimize is a software platform which uses crowdsourcing in order to gather earnings estimates from brokerages, hedge fund executives as well as sell-side and buy-side analysts. In the last quarter, the Estimize consensus was $5.47. Added to this, IBM is expected to report revenue of $19.7 billion compared to $22.5 billion in the same period last year. This marks a decline of 12 percent year-over-year. IBM shares are currently trading at $160.67 a share.
On Friday last week, U.S. stocks sold off. This came in response to investor fears of the future of Greece in the eurozone as well as new regulations in the Chinese stock market. As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and the S&P 500 index (SPX) suffered their worst 1-day point decline in more than 3 weeks. After two consecutive weekly gains, U.S. stocks ended last week with losses. At the close of trading, the DJIA declined 1.5 percent, or 279.67 points, to 17,826.10. For the week, this blue chip index declined 1.3%, turning negative fort the year. Pushing the DJIA lower were the shares of American Express Co. (AXP, -4.44%) which declined 4.4 percent after reporting poor earnings. Following this decline was the Nasdaq Composite index (COMP) which dropped 1.5%, or 75.98 points, to 4,931.81. For the week, the tech heavy index lost 1.3 percent. Also on Friday, the SPX dropped 1.1%, or 23.83 points, at 2,081.16. For the week, the benchmark index lost 1 percent.
On Friday, the U.S. dollar (USD) was little changed. This came in response to a strong consumer sentiment report in the U.S. which helped to ease concerns regarding the timing of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. According to the University of Michigan, its consumer sentiment index rose from 93.0 in March to 95.9 in April. This beat expectations for a reading of 94.0. Added to this, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in March, consumer prices rose 0.2 percent, missing expectations for a 0.3 percent increase. Also, core consumer prices, which exclude energy and food, rose 0.2 percent in March which was in line with expectations. In currency trading, the EUR/USD traded at 1.0761, while the GBP/USD traded at 1.4981, up 0.31%. Also, against the Swiss franc and the yen, the greenback traded mixed with USD/CHF down 0.14% to 0.9548 and with USD/JPY steady at 119.09. The U.S. dollar index was also steady at 97.87.
On Monday, in Asian trading, crude oil prices advanced. This increase came as China sharply cut the ratio of cash that banks need to set aside as reserves over the weekend. This move was made in order to accelerate economic growth. On Sunday, the central bank in China announced that it had lowered the deposit amounts held by banks as reserves from 19.5 percent to 18.5%. Meanwhile, crude oil for May delivery traded at $57.82 a barrel, up 0.86 percent, on the NYMEX. On the week last week, New York-traded oil prices increased 7.97 percent, or $3.93. This marked the 4th consecutive weekly gain. Elsewhere, Brent for delivery in June traded at $63.45 a barrel on Friday, down 0.83%, or 53 cents, on the ICE Futures Exchange in London.