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Tickers in this Article: MA, CCJ, WEN, TWX, TM
On October 29, the BEA reported that real GDP in the U.S. increased by 3.5% in third quarter of 2009. There was much made about the figure as it was the first increase in a year. The Dow rose almost 200 points on the news, but subsequently lost all the gains the very next day. According to economist David Rosenberg, once the effects of the stimulus are accounted for, real GDP growth would have been flat or slightly negative.

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The lack of confidence in the GDP number was apparent in the sell-off on Friday. Rosenberg also pointed to a significant drop in the personal savings rate to 3.3% in Q3 from 4.9% the previous quarter as a major reason why real GDP was positive.

Investors should focus on company earnings as a clearer gauge of economic growth. Here are five notable earnings releases next week:

1. MasterCard (NYSE:MA)
The credit transaction processor, reports before market open on Tuesday. Analysts are expecting the company to report $2.92 per share on revenue of 1.34 billion. The company has reported earnings that have beat estimates consistently by an average of 11% over the last four quarters.

2. Cameco (NYSE:CCJ)
The Canadian mining giant reports earnings on Monday before market open. Analysts are expecting 33 cents a share on a 30% drop in revenue to 523 million. Cameco reported positive earnings surprises in three out of the last four quarters, with a notable 64% surprise in the last quarter.

3. Wendy's/Arby's Group (NYSE:WEN)
The fast food mogul reports on Thursday before market open. The restaurant chain reported three cents per share earnings last quarter and analysts are expecting around five to six cents per share this quarter. Some analysts are also calling for investors to avoid restaurant stocks as the spread of the H1N1 virus continues to spread in the United States.

4. Time Warner (NYSE:TWX)
The media company reports on Wednesday before market open, with analysts expecting the company to earn approximately 53 cents per share on 39% lower revenues. Time Warner has beat earnings estimates in the last three out of four quarters.

5. Toyota Motors Corporation (NYSE:TM)
Before market open on Thursday, Toyota will report its earnings with analysts expecting the company to lose 19 cents a share. Earlier in September, Toyota raised its forecast for sales to 6.7 million units, up 3% from previous forecasts for the year ending March 2010. Also production is expected to increase 8% to 6.45 million units in the same period, as reported by the Tokyo Shimbun.

The Bottom Line
If the U.S. has come to the end of its recession, then look to some of these stocks to reinforce or weaken that argument in the coming week. Either way you are going to want to keep an eye on these five stocks. (For more on analyst expectations, be sure to read Analyst Recommendations: Do Sell Ratings Exist? and Analyst Forecasts Spell Disaster For Some Stocks.)

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