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-- There's a hit-or-miss feel to earnings season so far.

For every blowout quarter like that of

International Business Machines

(IBM) - Get International Business Machines Corporation Report

, there seems to be a

surprise shortfall

like that experienced by

F5 Networks

(FFIV) - Get F5, Inc. Report

after Wednesday's closing bell.

The big banks have been a mixed bag as well. The feeling of euphoria that followed

JPMorgan Chase's

(JPM) - Get JPMorgan Chase & Co. Report

report last week has been wiped out. First, it was a messy quarter from

TheStreet Recommends


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

. Then

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Report

clearly disappointed the market with its drop in revenue.

Now little brother

Morgan Stanley

(MS) - Get Morgan Stanley Report

is next to deliver numbers. Wall Street is looking for a profit of 35 cents a share on revenue of $7.35 billion. But some analysts spooked by Goldman's crummy trading volumes decided not to wait until the quarter was delivered before lowering estimates.

Keefe Bruyette


Credit Suisse

both got out the knives and trimmed numbers based on an expected decline overall trading volumes. Credit Suisse is now at 20 cents for the quarter, but maintains an outperform rating.

Morgan Stanley's report is due before the opening bell. The line items that merit extra attention are the performance of the company's global wealth management business, whether there's any evidence retail customers are coming back, and how the investment banking unit fared.

And boy oh boy, Morgan Stanley must be feeling like a wallflower after having been

passed over for the sale of the Treasury's stake



(AIG) - Get American International Group, Inc. Report

. The news was a shocker since the bank has been advising the government on AIG since the insurer's historic collapse in 2008.

The big kahuna of Web search


(GOOG) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class C Report

is also on deck to report its results on Thursday. Most of the attention will probably be on the sales of phones using the company's Android operating system.

The Nexus S phone dropped on Dec. 16 running Android's latest version codenamed Gingerbread. Also look for some color on how Google's launch of its eBooks digital bookselling site has gone. Internet advertising is already in recovery mode, so really what investors want to know is how the company's diversification efforts are faring, as in 1) did people buy the phone and 2) did they download any books?

A smaller tech player to watch is

Skyworks Solutions

(SWKS) - Get Skyworks Solutions, Inc. Report

, which has a chart that most companies dream of, up more than 115% in the past 52 weeks.

So expectations are running high and the pressure will be on when the Woburn, Mass.-based maker of communications chips reports after the close. The average estimate of analysts polled by

Thomson Reuters

is for earnings of 44 cents a share in the December period on revenue of $334 million.

Bryan Ashenberg, a portfolio manager on


Real Money site, expects the quarter to be good, although he feels the stock will likely remain flat, which isn't too shabby considering how far the shares have already run up. Of course, if Skyworks disappoints, the stock is likely to get crushed (per

the action in F5

). A blowout quarter could see more value handed to shareholders.

Meantime, commodities have seen huge flows of cash as investors dump bonds for the easy money in agriculture, energy and metals.

Freeport McMoRan

(FCX) - Get Freeport-McMoRan, Inc. Report

delivers its quarter on Thursday and is sure to reap the benefits of higher copper and gold prices. Freeport bases its output prices on an average number, so if the actual market number is higher, then earnings will be higher. The stock has been on a tear over the past year and it doesn't look like that is going to change anytime soon.

On the international front, Brazil's central bank is expected to hike interest rates. Interest rates could go to 11.25% from 10.75%. The central bank has been trying to cool down its red hot currency, which soared 30% against the U.S. dollar in 2010. Ahead of the expected decision, Brazilian banks like

Banco Santander


pulled back.

It will be a busy day for economists as well with several reports coming out. Jobs will be the main focus as usual with initial claims due at 8:30 a.m. ET. The market expects 425,000 vs. the previous number of 445,000. Blah Blah Blah -- no new jobs. Existing home sales will be out at 10:00 am ET, but December was a terrible month weather wise and the expectations here are low. See line above -- the lackluster job market means not so many people buying homes.


Written by Debra Borchardt in New York


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Debra Borchardt


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