Market Overview

Earnings Expectations for the Week of December 17

The middle of the week will bring a cluster of quarterly reports ahead of the Christmas break. Foremost among them are results from economic bellwether FedEx (NYSE: FDX), which is expected to post lower earnings, Nike (NYSE: NKE), whose EPS are forecast to be the same as a year ago, and Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL), which analysts foresee reporting earnings growth.

The following is a quick look at what analysts expect from these and a few of the week's other most anticipated earnings reports.

FedEx

This Memphis-based freight services company is expected to report Wednesday morning that, for its second quarter of fiscal 2012, it had a profit of $1.41 per share. That would be down from earnings of $1.57 per share in the same period in the previous year. But analysts on average expect quarterly revenues to total $10.84 billion, which would be up more than two percent from a year ago. Note that analysts have underestimated FedEx EPS in the past six quarters.

Nike

Second-quarter fiscal 2013 earnings from the world's leading supplier of athletic shoes and apparel are expected to come to $1.00 per share, on revenues of $5.99 billion. In the same quarter of the previous year, the company exceeded EPS estimates when it posted $1.00 per share and $5.73 billion in sales. For the current quarter, which includes the holiday shopping season, sequential and year-over-year growth of EPS and revenue is forecast. Nike is scheduled to share its results Thursday after the closing bell.

Oracle

For the second quarter of fiscal 2013, this Redwood City, California-based enterprise software giant is forecast to post earnings of $0.61 per share, while revenues totaled $9.03 billion. The consensus EPS estimate has not changed in the past 60 days. In the same quarter of last year, the company reported smaller-than-expected EPS of $0.54 per share and $8.81 billion in revenue. Note, that year-ago earnings miss was the only one in the past ten quarters. Oracle is due to share its results on Tuesday afternoon.

Discover

In its Thursday morning report, banking and payment services company Discover Financial (NYSE: DFS) is expected report a profit of $1.11 per share for its fiscal fourth quarter. That compares to EPS of $0.95 in the year-ago quarter. The full-year EPS estimate of $4.49 would be up from $4.06 per share in the previous year. Fourth-quarter revenues are expected to total $1.96 billion, which would be almost nine percent higher than a year ago, while analysts predict that full-year sales will total $7.62 billion, or almost eight percent higher.

Walgreen

First-quarter fiscal 2013 earnings from Walgreen (NYSE: WAG) are forecast to come to $0.70 per share, while revenues totaled $17.50 billion, in Friday's report. In the same quarter of last year, the company missed EPS estimates when it posted $0.63 per share and $18.16 billion in sales. The consensus EPS estimate has slipped from $0.72 in the past 60 days. Over the past two years, Walgreen has a mixed record when it comes to meeting analysts' quarterly EPS expectations.

General Mills

In its report Wednesday morning, packaged foods giant General Mills (NYSE: GIS) is expected to say earnings rose less than four percent from a year ago to $0.79 per share for its fiscal second quarter. That consensus estimate has not changed in the past 60 days. Quarterly revenues are forecast to total $4.88 billion, which would be more than five percent higher than a year ago. And for the current quarter, analysts so far are looking for EPS up more than six percent year-over-year on revenue that is more than seven percent higher.

And Others

Others expected to report earnings growth this week include IT services company Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and Bed Bath & Beyond (NASDAQ: BBBY), CarMax (NYSE: KMX), ConAgra Foods (NYSE: CAG) and Winnebago Industries (NYSE: WGO).

Analysts expect to see lower per-share earnings from Carnival (NYSE: CCL), Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI), Jabil Circuit (NYSE: JBL) and home builder KB Home (NYSE: KBH). Net losses are expected from truck maker Navistar (NYSE: NAV) and from Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM).

See also: The Week Ahead: Fiscal Cliff Deadline Rapidly Approaching

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