The Good, The Bad, And The Unknown

Roiling, roiling, roiling. With interest rates on the rise and inflation lurking, the stock market has been jittery. Add another item for traders to worry about: the prospect that corporate earnings may not be as strong as forecasters had predicted. Measured by BUSINESS WEEK'S flash report of first-quarter profits, however, most of the news should be good. Average earnings were up 21%, on a 9% jump in sales. Early results don't include the major oil companies, Ford, GM, and IBM. Once they check in, profits will shrink somewhat. Then the market may really need a tranquilizer.

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