The companies to watch closely in 2011

An investor peers into a crystal ball for a glimpse into his stock's future.

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Jeremy Hobson:
Earnings season continues today when Intel reports its quarterly results after the closing bell on Wall Street.

This earnings season our economics correspondent Chris Farrell will be closely monitoring the results coming in from three different companies to get a sense of how our economic recovery is progressing. And Chris joins us now to talk about those companies. Hi Chris.

Chris Farrell: Hey Jeremy.

HOBSON: So what are you going to be watching?

FARRELL: Ah, top of my list: Qualcomm.

HOBSON: Uh huh.

FARRELL: I bet that's not on the tip of your tongue, but it is a mobile technology giant. You know, Jeremy, we've talked about how I think this sort of mobile Internet is going to be the driving force of our economy, and of job growth in 2011. So they're a pioneer, they're a major player in the cell phone industry, and they just spent a little over $3 billion to take a major presence in the Wi-Fi industry. So we've got cell phones, we've got Wi-Fi, we've got mobile Internet -- I'm going to be following Qualcomm.

HOBSON: They cover all the bases. What else, Chris, what else are you going to be following?

FARRELL: Well another company you probably haven't heard of: Fastenal.

HOBSON: I've never heard of Fastenal.

FARRELL: I love Fastenal. It's an almost $9 billion company, and they distribute nuts, bolts and some 50,000 other industrial parts and tools. Basically industrial fasteners. So if you want to know what's happening to industrial America -- is industrial America feeling more confident, making some orders? See what's happening with Fastenal. In the third quarter of 2010, they said they saw a slowdown in orders toward the end of the year, but looking toward a good 2011. So watch them closely.

HOBSON: All right, so manufacturing, high-tech -- what's the third one?

FARRELL: Well the third one: jobs, jobs, jobs. Which means I'm looking at Manpower, the giant temp agency. And by the way, the CEO of Manpower recently said that what they're starting to see is more temp jobs becoming permanent jobs. And I want to see a lot more of that in 2011.

HOBSON: All right, Chris Farrell, Marketplace economics correspondent. We'll be watching those, you'll be watching those, and we'll talk to you next time. Thanks.

FARRELL: Thanks a lot.

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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