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Surprise Arrest of Saudi Billionaire Alwaleed Bin Talal Overshadows Big Earnings

At least in the early part of the week, the market will likely have its sites set on one surprise development.

Billionaire investor Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal and at least 10 other princes, plus current and former ministers, were arrested Saturday in a widespread corruption crackdown, according to numerous media reports.

Several U.S. news outlets reported that the arrests were announced over Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned satellite network whose broadcasts are officially approved.

Prince Alwaleed, a member of the Saudi royal family, was reportedly detained on Saturday. He is a prominent billionaire investor with stakes in companies including Citigroup (C - Get Report) , Apple (AAPL - Get Report) and Twitter (TWTR - Get Report) . The prince controls the investment firm Kingdom Holding, which also has investments in News Corp (NWSA - Get Report) , Motorola Solutions (MSI - Get Report) , and Time Warner (TWX - Get Report) . The American-educated prince also controls several satellite television networks.

Meanwhile, we're also approaching the tail-end of the earnings season. And media companies will be next to show off their quarters.

The one to watch? Walt Disney Co. (DIS - Get Report) , the largest entertainment company in the world, will open its books on Thursday, Nov. 9.

Analysts expect a solid fourth-quarter performance with net income rising to $1.15 a share over the three months to September, higher than $1.10 a year earlier. Sales are expected to come in on the weak side with revenue growth of just 1.2% to $13.3 billion, according to FactSet numbers.

Growth in its media networks unit will be a closely watched metric. That business segment, which accounts for 43% of total revenue, has been under the hammer on falling paid subscriber numbers, higher programming costs, lower advertising sales, and an underperforming ESPN. It's a tough environment for any media company, Disney included -- viewership of ad-supported TV is in a four-year decline and has dropped 14% year over year this quarter, Bernstein analysts pointed out.

Those same headwinds could hurt Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (FOXA - Get Report) , too. The Rupert Murdoch-run media company generates more than 50% of its total revenue from its cable network programming and 19% from its television segment.

Lucky for Fox, its movie studio had a solid quarter at the box office. War for the Planet of the Apes, a July release, generated a total worldwide gross of $489.5 million, the bulk from foreign ticket sales. Kingsman: The Golden Circle, a late September release, topped the box office in its opening weekend with a $39 million domestic gross.

Analysts expect Twenty-First Century Fox to report earnings of 49 cents a share over its fiscal first quarter, 2 cents less than a year earlier. Sales are forecast to climb by 4.8% to $6.815 billion. Fox is also scheduled to report Thursday.

Other media and tech earnings in the coming week include AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (AMC - Get Report) , BroadSoft Inc. (BSFT - Get Report) and GoDaddy Inc. (GDDY - Get Report) on Monday, Nov. 6; Snap Inc. (SNAP) and Zynga Inc. (ZNGA - Get Report) on Tuesday, Nov. 7; IAC/InterActive Corp. (IAC - Get Report) and Square Inc. (SQ - Get Report) on Wednesday, Nov. 8; and Himax Technologies Inc. (HIMX - Get Report) , LionsGate Entertainment Corp. (LGF) , News Corp. (NWSA - Get Report) and Time Inc. (TIME - Get Report) on Thursday.

Consumer and retail earnings include Avis Budget Group Inc. (CAR - Get Report) , CVS Health Corp. (CVS - Get Report) , Etsy Inc. (ETSY - Get Report) , Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. (KORS - Get Report) , Priceline Group Inc. (PCLN - Get Report) , Sysco Corp. (SYY - Get Report) and Weight Watchers International Inc. (WTW - Get Report) on Monday; Dean Foods Co. (DF - Get Report) , Marriott International Inc. (MAR - Get Report) and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. (SEAS - Get Report) on Tuesday; HSN Inc. (HSNI - Get Report) , MGM Resorts International (MGM - Get Report) and Wendy's Co. (WEN - Get Report) on Wednesday; and D.R. Horton Inc. (DHI - Get Report) , Hertz Global Holdings Inc. (HTZ - Get Report) and Noodles & Co. (NDLS - Get Report) on Thursday.

Healthcare earnings include Mylan NV (MYL - Get Report) on Monday; Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX - Get Report) on Tuesday; Humana Inc. (HUM - Get Report) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (REGN - Get Report) on Wednesday.

Around four-fifths of S&P 500 companies have reported earnings so far this reporting season. Of those, 72% have topped earnings estimates, while 67% have exceeded revenue consensus. Economists anticipate blended earnings growth of 8%, or 5.6% excluding energy, according to Thomson Reuters.

Not all companies have seen earnings growth this quarter, though, with particular weakness concentrated in the telecom, utilities and consumer discretionary sectors.

"There's some negative earnings numbers starting to creep up now that we're getting [further] through earnings season," WBI Investments' Matt Schreiber told TheStreet. "One of the reasons for that is we actually having to beat a positive quarter of growth from the year prior."

The economic calendar is fairly quiet in the coming week. The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey for September will be released on Tuesday, weekly jobless claims as normal on Thursday, and a preliminary reading on consumer sentiment for November on Friday, Nov. 10.

Apple and Citigroup are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio . Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL and C? Learn more now.


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