Investing

The Unusual Suspects (AA, BAC, GE, GOOG, INTC, JPM, ACN, BSX, CTIC, CLNE, LULU, PALM, TROW, LCC, PLND, CEDC)

This weekend’s roster of the Unusual Suspects is back to earnings, although there are many other key stocks to watch out for this coming week.  We did see a very brief hit of 11,000 in the DJIA in the final ten minutes of trading Friday.  The cast of characters in the Unusual Suspects for earnings this coming week includes Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE: AA), Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC) and JP Morgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM).  The other more Unusual Suspects with news and events to watch the week ahead are Accenture plc (NYSE: ACN), Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX), Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTIC), Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE), Lululemon Athletica (NASDAQ: LULU), Palm, Inc. (NASDAQ: PALM), T.Rowe Price Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: TROW), and US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE: LCC).  We will also alert traders to watch Market Vectors Poland ETF (NYSE: PLND) and Central European Distribution Corporation (NASDAQ: CEDC) based on the Polish presidential plane crash that killed Poland’s president and many political elite of Poland.

On earnings previews, we only gave the DJIA components and one other as Google, to save space and time.  We have included Thomson Reuters estimates and we have given color on the valuation and other metrics.  On the non-earnings stocks, we have given previews for what lies ahead on many of the straggling issues that will go into next week and on upcoming events along with relevant recent actions in each where applicable.

Accenture plc (NYSE: ACN) is not our normal rumor mill stock, and may be more gossip than stock fanfare.  The company is rumored to be about to endorse Tiger Woods again after withdrawing its sponsorship deal after the Tiger Woods scandal (or folly) broke.  Shares were up 2.2% Friday on this at $42.83 and the 52-week range is $26.33 to $43.89.  An unusual suspect, for sure.

Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE: AA) kicks earnings season off on Monday and Thomson Reuters estimates are $0.11 EPS on $5.19 billion in revenue; versus a loss of -$0.59 EPS a year ago.  If it gives guidance, the estimates are $0.24 EPS for next quarter and $0.77 EPS for fiscal 2010; so it trades around 18-times forward earnings and its 52-week range is $8.10 to $17.60.  There seems to be a neutral bias here, meaning it would seem to rise with good news or fall with bad news more than other quarters.

Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC) is giving earnings Friday with estimates of $0.09 EPS this last quarter and $0.17 EPS next quarter. At $18.55, the 52-week range is $7.00 to $19.10 and we expect to see upside to credit metrics and perhaps a blowout quarter as the only thing that will keep the bulls from taking at least some profits here.  Simply meeting estimates and being conservative in stance probably won’t make a rally here.

Boston Scientific Corporation (NYSE: BSX) is the turnaround which has never been able to turn around.  Many reports were out on Friday that it may sell two of its units (neurovascular business and pain management division, per the rumors) to raise cash and to hone in on its portfolio of medical devices.  It has a costly heart defibrillator recall, has a failed buyout of Guidant it wishes it never did, and will have up to $2.7 billion in coming-due payments in 2011.  Shares actually closed down marginally at $6.97 versus a 52-week trading range of $6.31 to $11.77.  We’ll be looking for analyst support or criticism on Monday.

Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTIC) is trying to keep its relevance.  It is forging ahead with pixantrone for relapsed or refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and possibly other indications.  It adjourned its special meeting and scheduled a weekend conference call for a company update after it raised money after a disappointing FDA action in recent trading days.  Stay tuned, a very unusual suspect indeed.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) was panned in Barron’s over the weekend despite this being one of the favorite go-to stocks in the world of viable alternative energy.  This is T. Boone Pickens’ compressed natural gas play for the use of natural gas as a fuel for trucks rather than gasoline.  The article praises the company but said the valuations leave no real upside for investors.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) reports Friday morning and estimates are $0.16 EPS and $37.08 billion in revenues.  Estimates next quarter are $0.25 EPS and $38.8 billion in revenue.  Its earnings estimates are $1.02 EPS in 2010 and then $1.24 EPS in 2011,  That being said, Immelt and friends likely need to beat estimates and raise guidance.  If not, then this is not any longer a cheap stock.  We noted that Morningstar gave a $25 fair value target recently over the long haul, and we still believe GE will start lifting its dividend either this quarter or this year rather than its 2011 target.

Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) is expected to report $6.57 EPS and $4.93 billion on Thursday, showing over 25% earnings and over 21% revenue growth.  The 52-week range is $364.16 to $629.51; and it trades at 20-times 2010 expected earnings and less than 18-times 2011 earnings expectations.  With CPMs being very weak in many publisher and site sectors in February and with it having under 70% of search (barely) in March for the first time since June-2008, we’ll be keeping an eye on this one to see if it can blow out its earnings as some analysts are expecting.