NEW YORK (
Bank of America
is among a handful of financial companies scheduled to report quarterly results before the start of Wednesday's session as earnings season begins in earnest.
, along with
Bank of New York Mellon
, is slated to open its books on the fourth quarter early Wednesday.
Analysts expect Bank of America to report a loss of 52 cents a share, on average, according to Thomson Reuters. Investors will also scrutinize Bank of America's provision for loan losses for the fourth quarter. Shares of the bank traded higher Tuesday before the report's release.
The earnings fireworks will resume after Wednesday's close of trading, with
The health care and insurance sector will also be in focus Wednesday after results from the Massachusetts special election for the Senate seat once occupied by Ted Kennedy. While a victory by Republican candidate Scott Brown over Democratic candidate Martha Coakley will end the filibuster-proof Democratic majority in the Senate and deal a blow to President Obama's reform plans, Democrats would likely expedite a vote on the health care bill.
On Tuesday, health insurer stocks like
all traded higher.
On the economic front, the Labor Department will release its producer price index for December at 8:30 a.m. EST alongside the Commerce Department's housing starts data for December. The headline PPI figure should show no change while the core number, which excludes food and energy, should tick higher by 0.1%.
Housing starts, meanwhile, should increase to 575,000 in December from 574,000 the month prior. Building permits should shrink to 580,000 from 584,000 in November.
-- Written by Robert Holmes in Boston
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