Update includes final TheStreet.com RealMoney Barometer Survey results
NEW YORK (
) -- There's no getting around it: Earnings mattered to investors last week when the
Dow Jones Industrial Average
danced above and below the 10,000 level and will again this week as companies across a wide swath of sectors and 11 Dow components are expected to post third-quarter results.
Going into this big earnings week, sentiment has swung bullish, according to participants in TheStreet.com RealMoney Barometer Survey, with the integrated oil sector seen as the one most likely to rise this week. Oil traded above $79 a barrel Monday, a new high for the year, after rallying last week on the belief that oil demand will increase as the economy recovers. But as it approaches $80 a barrel, some analysts believe a pullback could be in the offing.
Crude oil for December delivery was down 34 cents to $78.68 in recent trading Monday.
Precious metals came in second place as the sector most likely to go higher this week. Gold has cooled off somewhat after rising last week to its highest price ever of $1,070 an ounce. Gold for December delivery Monday was trading up $1.20 to $1,052.70.
Commercial banks were viewed by a wide margin as the sector most likely to fall this week by survey participants.
Bank of America
underwhelmed the market Friday when it reported a
wider than the estimates of analysts on high credit costs and preferred dividend payments.
earlier in the week managed to post a slight third-quarter profit but lost money on a per-share basis because of one-time items and dividend payouts.
Last week, the Dow finished the week up 1.3% at 9,995.91, the
gained 1.5%, and the
Kicking things off Monday are
before the opening bell and
after trading closes.
Overall, 346, or 46.3%, of the 748 votes cast in the TheStreet.com RealMoney Barometer were bullish. The bears took 278, or 37.2%, of the votes cast. Neutral took 124, or 16.6%.
Stocks in Asia closed mixed Monday, suggesting caution ahead of the U.S. earnings deluge and on a belief that growth in the U.S. remains weak. Japan's Nikkei index fell marginally, while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong tacked on a 1.2% gain.
Stocks in London, Frankfurt and Paris were trading higher as of 6:30 a.m.
Here is a wrap-up of our other weekly polls:
With earnings season already in full swing -- an earnings season fraught with tension as investors seek evidence of a possible economic recovery -- we asked readers of
which company they consider to be the most telling bellwether of just such a rebound. In the poll, we presented a selection of very large concerns from various industries, all of which reported this week.
The biggest of the big,
, put up some disappointing numbers Friday morning. And if our survey results are any indication, that could spell an ominous period for the economy as a whole, as our readers overwhelmingly chose GE as the company that best offers a window into the performance of the American corporate machine, achieving some 55.6% of the vote.
Coming in second place, with a mere 18.6% of the clicks, was
, which also reported a mixed quarter on Thursday, posting a disappointing bottom line against a slightly better-than-expected revenue figure.
Delisting has been in the news over the last few weeks, ever since the
New York Stock Exchange
reinstituted enforcement of listing requirements in August.
One such rule, generally requiring company share prices to stay above $1, has been a problem recently for more than a few stocks. An analysis using data provided by iMetrix by Edgar Online and examined by TheStreet.com Ratings resulted in a top 10 ranking of those who have received delisting notices because of low share prices, at least when ranked by revenue.
Of the top five on the list, we turned to
readers to ask for a slightly different take on the delisting phenomenon: Which stock would you continue to hold on to, even if it was delisted?
Far and away,
Sirius XM Radio
found the most supporters in its corner, landing 73.3% of the nearly 1,700 votes cast in the poll. Another 13.2% of voters were cheering for
, as reports continue to swirl that the company is attempting to restructure its debt and stave off a bankruptcy filing.
For all of
American International Group's
faults -- and there are many --
readers still think the company will be able to repay its mounds of debt.
Almost two thirds -- 64.5% -- of the more than 2,500 voters in our weeklong poll said that AIG will ultimately be able to repay the $85 billion loan it received from the government last fall. Only 35.5% said AIG would be unable to make the payments.
two-year-old move into the deepwater oil exploration business put the company back in the spotlight this week.
An analyst at Lazard Capital Markets, Urs Dur,
to buy from hold Tuesday, based largely on the diversification strategy initiated by CEO George Economou back in 2007. Roundly mocked at the time, the move has since garnered the praise of at least some investors and analysts.
All of that was background for the questions that we asked our readers this week, specifically if they believed DryShips' deepwater strategy would prove to be a lucrative one. Perhaps not surprisingly,
loyal base of dry-bulk survey takers voted overwhelmingly in favor of Economou's brainchild, with nearly 82% of the votes coming down on the "yea" side.
One week ago, news broke that
CEO Bruce Wasserstein was in the hospital with what was termed then as an "irregular heartbeat," though it was also reported that he was recovering. Afterwards, several outlets began speculating on what Wasserstein's near-term absence might mean to the firm. In that vein, we put out a poll asking
readers which company was most tied to the well-being of its own CEO.
By Wednesday, things took an unexpected turn when it was announced that Wasserstein, 61, had passed away.
Media coverage of the passing of Wasserstein -- a dealmaking legend whose merger and acquisition exploits are renowned -- immediately began speculating on succession plans and the future for the bank. Because while succession issues might be somewhat macabre, they are a legitimate consideration in the business world -- and for investors. And in light of the stunning passing and the assorted issues that his death presents for Lazard, the admittedly uncomfortable poll may still offer some insight of others.
According to the results,
readers believe that the CEO's of
(32%) are the companies most tied to their own CEOs. The fact that the two topped the five choices offered isn't terribly surprising, considering that the succession plans and health of both Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett have been in the news over the last few months and years.
-- Written by Joseph Woelfel and Ty Wenger in New York.
This article was written by staff members of TheStreet.com.