Eagle Eye Opener: Corporate Earnings Reports Abound; Global Market Mixed; Toyota Finishes First in 2012 Car Sales

Number Nirvana for Investors This Week (YahooFinance)

Investors who wait to make decisions based off of hard economic data are preparing to embrace numerical nirvana this week. Reports scheduled for release include the January jobs report — expected to reveal a steady 7.8 percent unemployment; big-ticket durables (U.S.-made goods such as airplanes or appliances) — which will be paced by Boeing — and Q4 U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), which is thought to have grown at 1 percent for the last three months of the year. Now, add in a dash of Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues meeting at the end of the month, and by Friday, Feb. 1, investors should have plenty of information to make informed decisions about their savings. Should have??? but that doesn???t mean they???ll make the right decisions.

Global Markets Can???t Come to a Consensus Awaiting U.S. News (Bloomberg)

In addition to the number-tracking investors awaiting this week???s slew of data, global markets seem to be twiddling their virtual thumbs waiting for the same information before deciding upon a direction to go. Today, Japan???s Nikkei was down .94 percent, while both the Hong Kong Hang Seng and Shanghai Composite Indexes were up — .39 percent and 2.41 percent, respectively. In Europe, all of the big three were down at the time of this writing: England???s FTSE 100 losing .16 percent, France???s CAC 40 slipping .89 percent and Germany???s DAX receding .14 percent. Finally, U.S. futures are siding with China, more so than Europe, as the DJIA, S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Indexes are all slightly ahead right now. We???ll see how these markets align at the end of the week.

Don???t Call It a Comeback — Toyota Never Left (AP)

Final sales figures for last year reflect that Toyota Motor Corp. knocked off General Motors for the title King of Car Sales in 2012 — and rewarded investor loyalty with a 30 percent gain during the last 12 months. Toyota???s number — 9.74 million vehicles sold–  is almost a half million larger than GM???s 9.29 million. Japan???s Toyota sales figures reflect a 23 percent jump over the previous year — a number all the more remarkable given 2011???s devastating earthquake and tsunami. Perhaps lost among the glowing news is the fact that Japan attained sales of this magnitude even as China was boycotting its products due to a territorial dispute. The 23 percent growth was fueled by the rest of the world??? Toyota estimates it???ll sell 9.91 million units in 2013 — that remains to be seen.