Wall Street is looking for a profit of 73 cents a share in the March-ended period from Wells Fargo on revenue of $20.46 billion, while the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters is for JPMorgan to post earnings of $1.18 a share on revenue of $24.68 billion.
JPMorgan shares look a little more attractive by traditional metrics of forward price-to-earnings multiple and dividend yield. At current levels, JPMorgan's stock has a forward P/E of 8.1X with a yield of 2.8% vs. 9.2X and 2.7% for Wells Fargo.
Even though the bank stocks have booked eye-popping gains in 2012, that has to be viewed in the context of how poorly they did last year. Still, like Guggenheim, UBS thinks the group looks to be in pretty good shape and should have some more room to run.
"Due to the results of the stress tests in mid-March, the risk-profile visibility has improved for the sector," the firm said on Wednesday. "We believe the increased visibility and generally positive earnings outlook support higher valuations for the group."Also reporting on Friday are Duckwall-ALCO Stores (DUCK), Infosys Technologies (INFY), and Shaw Communications (SJR). The economic calendar features the consumer price index for March at 8:30 a.m. ET and the University of Michigan's gauge of consumer sentiment for April at 9:55 a.m. ET. Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, is expecting the CPI data to show inflation remains in check. The consensus is for a headline increase of 0.3%, down from 0.4% the previous month, and the core number, excluding food and energy, to rise 0.2% from 0.1% in February. Shepherdson is in line with the consensus. The consumer sentiment estimate, according to Briefing.com, is for a minimal decline to 76.1 from 76.2 in March. Shepherdson sees little change month-to-month as well. "The core story here, we think, is that rising stock prices -- until very recently -- and higher gasoline prices have pulled sentiment in opposite directions, with the net result that expectations are stalling," he wrote. "People's views of the current economy are more driven by the state of the labor market -- specifically in the case of the Michigan survey, by the pace of layoffs -- but we are nervous about the near-term gas hit, so overall we expect the headline sentiment index to be little changed from the 76.2 final March reading."
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