Forget Earnings Recession: Tap Revenue Growth With These ETFs

The first-quarter (Q1) earnings growth is likely to be negative this year, marking the first earnings decline since 2016 Q2. However, the revenue growth picture is assuring. But margins have taken a hit from waning benefits from $1.5 trillion in tax cuts, the rise in payroll, materials and transportation expenses.  

The bottom line may be investors’ top focus going into an earnings season, but top line probably tells you more about the inherent strength of a company.

Why to Follow Revenue Growth This Reporting Cycle?

For Q1, total earnings are expected to decline 4% from the same period last year on 4.6% higher revenues as per the Earnings Trends issued on Apr 3, 2019. Earnings growth will likely slacken from Q4's 14.4% rate while revenue growth will slow down slightly (last quarter’s was 6.7%).

For Q1, 10 out of the Zacks classified 16 sectors of the S&P 500 will likely witness negative growth in earnings while five sectors are expected to see revenue recession.

Further, investors should note that sales are harder to be influenced in an income statement than earnings. A company can land up on decent earnings numbers by adopting cost-cutting or some other measures that do not speak for its core strength. But it is harder for a company to mold its revenue figure.

Below we highlight a few sectors and their related ETFs that could be used to book some profits on revenue growth potential.

Retail – VanEck Vectors Retail ETF RTH

Revenues of the sector are expected to expand 7.3% in Q1 followed by 5.6% expansion in Q4. It is also expected to see an uptick (up 2.9%) in earnings. Though waning benefits from $1.5 trillion in tax cuts and inclement weather in February weighed on retail sales in February, the momentum is pretty strong given the decent U.S. economic growth (read: Is February Retail Sales Spooking You? Play These 4 ETF Areas).

Consumer Discretionary – Invesco DWA Consumer Cyclicals Momentum ETF PEZ

Revenues are expected to expand 9.8% in Q1 followed by 12.3% expansion in Q4. An upbeat job market, a dovish Fed, a steady manufacturing sector and investors home-buying spree corroborates a steady economy and thus a smooth ride for discretionary ETFs.

Aerospace – Invesco Aerospace & Defense ETF PPA

The sector is expected to record 8.6% revenue growth in Q1, following 9.3% expansion in the previous quarter. After all, President Trump’s intension to offer a boost to the proposed defense budget for fiscal 2020 favors this segment.

Trump has proposed a 5% or $34 million increase in defense spending to a total of $750 billion, beating Pentagon officials’ expectation of a budget of $733 billion, which would mark a 2.4% increase over last year’s. This makes PPA an intriguing pick (read: After a Lull, Will Defense-Related ETFs Surge Ahead?).

Finance – Invesco DWA Financial Momentum ETF PFI

Though certain parts of the yield curve inverted in March and weighed on financial ETFs, the segment should remain steady this year on a dovish Fed and decent economic growth momentum. This should result in steepening of the yield curve. The sector is expected to witness revenue growth of 6.5% in Q1, after 10% growth in Q4.

Medical – ARK Genomic Revolution Multi-Sector ETF ARKG

The space is thriving with mergers and acquisitions in the biotech space. Plus, incessant drug approvals and rising demand from emerging markets are pushing the sector higher. The sector is expected to report 5.9% revenue growth on top of 7.9% recorded in Q4 (read: Biotechnology Market on a Tear: 5 ETFs in Spotlight).

Energy – Invesco S&P SmallCap Energy ETF PSCE

Oil prices made a comeback recently, buoyed by the fresh output cut decision by OPEC and Russia for the first six month of 2019, U.S. sanctions against Venezuela on political ground and U.S.-Sino trade deal hopes. The sector is expected to report 4.8% revenue growth on top of 12.9% recorded in Q4. This makes PSCE a good pick (read: Small-Caps Beat S&P 500 in Q1: 5 ETF Winners).

Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?

Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>

Click to get this free report

Invesco Aerospace & Defense ETF (PPA): ETF Research Reports

Invesco S&P SmallCap Energy ETF (PSCE): ETF Research Reports

VanEck Vectors Retail ETF (RTH): ETF Research Reports

Invesco DWA Consumer Cyclicals Momentum ETF (PEZ): ETF Research Reports

Invesco DWA Financial Momentum ETF (PFI): ETF Research Reports

ARK Genomic Revolution Multi-Sector ETF (ARKG): ETF Research Reports

To read this article on click here.

Zacks Investment Research

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Latest Technology Videos


    Zacks is the leading investment research firm focusing on stock research, analysis and recommendations. In 1978, our founder discovered the power of earnings estimate revisions to enable profitable investment decisions. Today, that discovery is still the heart of the Zacks Rank. A wealth of resources for individual investors is available at

    Learn More