The Week Ahead: Keep an Eye on Those Forward Numbers

The second week of April delivered some big returns, with all major stock market indices climbing more than 2%. That has brought the Dow Jones Industrial Average up to a 13.4% climb since the start of the year, with the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite up 11.4% and 9.1%, respectively. These strong moves, of course, do not reflect on March's weaker-than-expected retail sales, nor the tumble in consumer sentiment as recorded in the April Michigan sentiment reading. Instead, we've seen these gains off the Wednesday release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee, which support the growing view that the Federal Reserve will be backstopping the economy for some time to come after.

Last week also saw Alcoa (AA) kick off a coming flood of first-quarter earnings reports; the company itself delivered better-than-expected earnings, but a miss on revenue. This earnings season, I and other investors will be watching not just the top and bottom lines, but also their expected rate of growth for the coming quarters. Data from FactSet show that profit-growth targets have already adjusted downward for the first quarter, and now sit at nearly zero for companies tracked by the S&P 500. By comparison, on Dec. 31 analysts had expected an average growth rate of 2.2%. ...680 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

Read the full story and get access to the Real Money Pro trading floor.

There’s no substitute for a trading floor to get great ideas, so Jim Cramer created a better one at Real Money and blogs there exclusively. We then added legendary hedge fund manager, Doug Kass, with his exclusive Daily Diary and best investing ideas. Staffed with more than 4 dozen investing pros, money managers, journalists and analysts, Real Money Pro gives you a flood of opinions, analysis and actionable trading advice found nowhere else, and allows you to interact directly with each expert.

Already a Subscriber? Please login.

Except as otherwise indicated, quotes are delayed. Quotes delayed at least 20 minutes for all exchanges. Market Data provided by Interactive Data. Company fundamental data provided by Morningstar. Earnings and ratings provided by Zacks. Mutual fund data provided by Valueline. ETF data provided by Lipper. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions.

TheStreet Ratings updates stock ratings daily. However, if no rating change occurs, the data on this page does not update. The data does update after 90 days if no rating change occurs within that time period.

IDC calculates the Market Cap for the basic symbol to include common shares only. Year-to-date mutual fund returns are calculated on a monthly basis by Value Line and posted mid-month.