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Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Googleand Pepsi are part of Zacks Earnings Preview:

CHICAGO, April 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- releases the list of companies likely to issue earnings surprises. This week's list includes Bank of America (NYSE:BAC-Free Report), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS-Free Report), Citigroup (NYSE:C-Free Report), Google (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) and Pepsi (NYSE:PEP-Free Report).

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A Make or Break Week for Q1 Earnings Season

The 2014 Q1 reporting season is underway and we have results from 29 S&P 500 members. The reporting pace accelerates this week, with 126 companies announcing first-quarter results, including 56 S&P 500 members. While the Finance sector is heavily represented in this week's list of companies reporting results, we have enough bellwethers from other sectors to give us a good representative of the Q1 earnings season.  

The low expectations for the Finance sector were borne out last week and will most likely be reconfirmed by this week's Finance-heavy line-up of results. There is plenty of read-through from the previous week's earnings results, most of it negative, for this week's reporters, particularly Bank of America (NYSE:BAC-Free Report), Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS-Free Report) andCitigroup (NYSE:C-Free Report).

The mortgage banking weakness has been well known and no one was surprised by the sharp declines at both J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo on that front. But even J.P. Morgan's top-notch investment banking franchise couldn't shield its results from the persistently weak capital market flows and volumes, particularly on the fixed income side. It doesn't bode well for Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and Citigroup, though Morgan Stanley has steadily reduced its reliance on the capital markets business.

Beyond Finance, we have plenty of leaders from other key sectors on deck for releasing results this week as well. From Google (Nasdaq:GOOG-Free Report) to Pepsi (NYSE:PEP-Free Report) and much more in between, this week's reports span the full spectrum of the economy. As such, it may not be unfair to characterize this as the make or break week for the Q1 earnings season. The trends established this week will likely carry through the rest of this reporting cycle with only minor changes.   

Scorecard for 2014 Q1 (as of Friday, April 10th)

Total earnings for the 29 S&P 500 members that have reported results are up +3.2% from the same period last year, with a 'beat ratio' of 58.6% and a median surprise of +2.5%. Total revenues are up +2.4%, with a revenue 'beat ratio' of 37.9% and a median surprise of -0.2%. Ex-finance is 12.7%

It's premature to draw any conclusions from this small sample of results, but the growth rates and beat ratios for these 29 companies in Q1 are weaker than what we have seen from the same group of companies in other recent quarters. It has overall been a fairly uninspiring start to the Q1 earnings season.

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