The Q1 earnings season has reached its pinnacle as almost 374 S&P 500 members have already announced their results, and investors are still on the lookout for companies that can beat estimates. While many sectors have seen a bulk of their companies report earnings, most retailers are yet to come out with their results this season.
Per the latest Zacks Earnings Trend report, out of the 374 S&P 500 members that have come up with their quarterly numbers, approximately 71.4% have posted positive earnings surprises. This is because the estimates had fallen quite low ahead of the start of this season as 2016 commenced on a dismal note. This therefore reflects an improvement in the overall corporate earnings picture.
According to the report, earnings for the 374 S&P 500 companies that have reported are down 7.5% from the same period last year, while revenues have declined 1.9%. The report further projects that earnings for the total S&P 500 companies will decline 7.1% from the year-ago period, and total revenue will dip 1.1%. We observe that this will be the fourth straight quarter, if the index witnesses a decline in earnings.
The performance of the index is not restricted to a single sector, and of the 16 Zacks sectors, 8 are expected to witness an earnings decline in Q1, with Basic Materials, Industrial Products, Energy and Conglomerates being a big drag. However, the Retail/Wholesale sector is showing some resilience in spite of overseas turmoil, yet-to-recover Chinese economy, fluctuating commodity prices and Fed rate-related controversies that to an extent are affecting consumers' spending behavior.
Total earnings for the Retail/Wholesale sector are expected to remain flat, whereas revenues are projected to increase 4.9%.
Among Retail/Wholesale stocks lined up to report, let's take a sneak peek at two companies.
CST Brands, Inc.CST , an independent retailer of motor fuel and convenience merchandise items, is slated to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 6. Our proven model does not conclusively show that CST Brands is likely to beat earnings estimates this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1, 2 or 3 for this to happen. CST Brands has an Earnings ESP of 0.00% as the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate both stand at 24 cents. The company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), which increases the predictive power of ESP. However, the company's ESP of 0.00% makes surprise prediction difficult.
In the trailing four quarters, this San Antonio, TX-based company outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 79.7%.
Addison, TX-based Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc.FRGI , which is scheduled to release its first-quarter 2016 results on May 9, has an Earnings ESP of -2.44% and a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Meanwhile, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter earnings is pegged at 41 cents. However, we note that in the trailing four quarters, this operator of fast-casual restaurants outperformed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by an average of 0.7%.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.