The following is an excerpt from the weekly Earnings Trends
article. To see the full report,
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Can the Earnings Rebound be Sustained?
The overall picture emerging from the ongoing Q2 earnings season is
notably better relative to what has been on offer in the recent
past - growth is improving, more companies are beating estimates,
and there is even some modest improvement on the guidance front.
Not only are total earnings on track to surpass the prior all-time
quarterly record set two quarters back, but the growth profile also
appears to have started improving. Estimates in the aggregate for
the current quarter are following the pattern that we have been
seeing quarter after quarter, but the magnitude of negative
revisions is notably less relative to other recent comparable
Having seen results from 361 S&P 500 members that combined
account for 78.3% of the index's total market capitalization, our
overall take on this earnings season is notably positive relative
to other recent reporting seasons. Total earnings for these 361
companies are up +8.9% from the same period last year on +5% higher
revenues, with 66.7% beating EPS estimates and 59.6% coming out
with positive revenue surprises. This is better performance than we
have seen at this stage in other recent reporting cycles.
We have two sets of charts below - one compares the earnings and
revenue growth rates for these 361 companies with what these same
companies reported in 2014 Q1 and the 4-quarter average and the
second chart compares the beat ratios for these companies.
Growth is Better
The aggregate growth picture is actually even better once the
Finance sector's anemic growth numbers are excluded. Excluding
Finance, total earnings for the 361 S&P 500 companies that have
reported results are up +11.5% from the same period last year on
+5.8% higher revenues.
And More Positive Revenue Surprises
The composite picture for Q2, combining the actual results from the
361 S&P 500 members that have reported with estimates for the
still-to-come 139 companies, total earnings are expected to reach a
new all-time quarterly record, and increase by +7.5% from the same
period last year on +3.5% higher revenues. This is a material
improvement over the preceding quarter, when total earnings and
revenues were essentially flat.
Estimates for the 2014 Q3 have started coming down, with the
current +4.8% total earnings growth expected in the current period
down from +6.5% last week. But the magnitude of negative revisions
in Q3 thus far is the lowest we have seen in more than a year. The
chart below compares the magnitude of negative revision to 2014 Q3
estimates over the month July to negative revisions over comparable
periods in the preceding 5 quarters.
The question at this stage is whether the improved earnings picture
thus far is a one-off bounce from the extremely weak Q1 period, or
the start of something more enduring. Hard to tell as this stage,
but the marginal improvement on the guidance front will likely
result in raising hopes of a durable growth recovery.
- The 2014 Q2 earnings season is presenting a much improved
picture of the overall earnings picture relative to what we have
become used to seeing in recent quarters.
- Total earnings for the 361 S&P 500 members that have
reported results are up +8.9% on +5% higher revenues, with 66.7%
beating EPS estimates and 59.6% coming ahead of revenue
estimates. This is better performance than we have saw from the
same group of companies in recent quarters, with the revenue beat
ratio notably impressive.
- The Finance sector has been a drag on the aggregate growth
picture, but the sector's results have been better than expected.
There is not much growth, but 79.1% of the sector companies that
have reported results have EPS estimates and 77.6% have topped
- Growth from the Technology sector has been the best in many
recent quarters, with total earnings for 85.6% of the sector's
total market capitalization that have reported are up +14.1% on
+7.2% higher revenues. Strong gains at
) are big drivers of the year-over-year growth for the sector.
Excluding these three companies, total Tech sector growth at this
stage drops to +9.1%.
- Other sectors with strong earnings performance include
Medical, Transportation, and Consumer Discretionary. The
Medical sector's +15.2% earnings growth on +14% higher revenues
is primarily due to strength at
(GILD), but most of the sector companies have come out with
positive earnings and revenue beats.
- The composite Q2 picture for the S&P 500, combining the
actual results from the 361 companies with estimates for the 139
still to come, is for earnings to be up +7.5% from the same
period last year, on +3.5% higher revenues and 37 basis points in
higher margins. Sequentially, total earnings for the S&P 500
are expected to be up +8.1%, with the overall level of total
earnings for the index expected to reach a new all-time quarterly
- Six sectors - Utilities, Construction, Medical, Aerospace,
Technology, and Transportation - are expected to show
double-digit growth rates in Q2. The Finance sector was earlier
expected to see total earnings decline in Q2, but the picture
improved following the big bank results, with the sector now
expected to show growth of +1.4% after the -7.1% decline in
- Total earnings for the Technology sector are expected to be
up +11.5% from the same period last year on +5.9% higher
revenues. This would follow +3.7% earnings growth for the sector
on +3.1% higher revenues in Q1.
- The earnings growth pace is expected to accelerate in the
second half of the year, with total earnings expected to be up
+7.2% in the back half of the year after the +4.2% gain in
the first half. The growth pace is accelerate further in 2015,
with total earnings expected to grow +12.3% that year.
- The top-down 'EPS' estimate for the S&P 500 is currently
$117 for 2014 and $125 for 2015, while the bottom-up estimate are
$116 and $130, respectively.
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