Zacks Earnings Preview: Wal-Mart, Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Groupon and Target PR Newswire CHICAGO, May 14, 2012 CHICAGO, May 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Zacks.com releases the list of companies likely to issue earnings surprises. This week's list includes Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), Home Depot (NYSE:HD), J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP), Groupon (Nasdaq:GRPN), Target (NYSE:TGT). (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101027/ZIRLOGO) To see more earnings analysis, visit http://at.zacks.com/?id=3207. Every day, Zacks.com makes 4 stock picks available, free of charge. To see them, go to http://at.zacks.com/?id=3567. Big Week for Econ News The first quarter reporting season is winding down, with the bulk of the earnings season now behind us. We have already seen results from 452 of the S&P 500 companies thus far, and there is a lot to like this earnings season. We will get results from around 195 companies this week, including 21 from the S&P 500. Total earnings for the 452 companies that have already reported results (as of Friday, 05/11) are up a strong 7.9% from the year-earlier period, with 65.5% of the reports coming ahead of expectations. Since the market has already passed judgment on this earnings season, the reports coming out this week are unlikely to be materially market moving, though we do have a number of bellwether names on the docket, such as Wal-Mart(NYSE: WMT),Home Depot (NYSE: HD),J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP)and Groupon(Nasdaq: GRPN). Greece will likely continue to dominate the headlines, though there is no shortage of market-moving domestic economic reports either. From Retail Sales to inflation and regional manufacturing surveys to Housing Starts, we have a slew of reports on the economic docket this week. Monday-5/14 oThere is nothing significant on the economic calendar this day. oThe key earnings release is from Groupon, which recently had to restate past results. The company reports after the close. Tuesday -5/15 oWe have a very busy economic news day, with April Retail Sales and CPI coming out before the markets open, and the Empire State and Home builder Index coming out a little later. oThe Retail Sales report is expected to be unchanged, following very strong showing in March. On the CPI front, we may see a repeat of Friday's PPI report, with the 'headline' declining and the 'core' showing no pricing pressures. The Empire State survey for May is expected to have improved following the very weak showing in April. oOn the earnings front, Home Depot will report in the morning, while J.C. Penney will report after the markets close. Wednesday-5/16 oAnother busy day on the economic calendar, with Housing Starts for April coming out before the market opens, while the Industrial Production report comes out a little later. oLast month's Housing Starts data was on the weak side, though Permits came in better than expected. The expectation for the April reading is for an increase to 689K from March's 654K level. Industrial Production is expected to show strong gains following March's flat reading. oOn the earnings front, Target (NYSE:TGT) reports. Sheraz Mian is the Director of Research for Zacks.com. About the Zacks Rank Since 1988, the Zacks Rank has proven that "Earnings estimate revisions are the most powerful force impacting stock prices." Since inception in 1988, #1 Rank Stocks have generated an average annual return of +28%. During the 2000-2002 bear market, Zacks #1 Rank stocks gained +43.8%, while the S&P 500 tumbled -37.6%. Also note that the Zacks Rank system has just as many Strong Sell recommendations (Rank #5) as Strong Buy recommendations (Rank #1). Since 1988, Zacks Rank #5 stocks have significantly underperformed the S&P 500 (+3% versus +10%). Thus, the Zacks Rank system allows investors to truly manage portfolio trading effectively. 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Zacks Earnings Preview: Wal-Mart, Home Depot, J.C. Penney, Groupon and Target