Earnings Showing Speedy Growth
With approximately 2/3 of the S&P 500 companies reporting, Thomson Reuters is reporting not only are 78% of those companies beating analyst expectations, but they are also beating them by a large margin (~16%). The financial sector is still rather volatile and is distorting comparisons, but if you look at the non-financial sector, profit growth is on pace to grow +35% this quarter as compared to +18% last quarter. Earnings are not the only thing growing…so are revenues. After four quarters of revenue declines, sales are on track to rise +11% this quarter (versus +8% last quarter) thanks to almost 80% of the S&P 500 companies reporting revenue growth (rather than declines) in the first quarter of 2010.
Signs of Employment Improvement
Unemployment at 9.7% remains stubbornly high, but with corporation’s newfound revenue growth, there are signs companies are becoming more confident in the hiring department as well. Typically the sequence of a business cycle follows the pattern of cutting expenses and increasing layoffs into a recession; building cash at the cycle trough while running leaner expenses and staff; improving productivity with capital expenditures and technology purchases before hiring; and then as the recovery firms up, companies enjoy widening margins with sales growth, resulting in the confidence to hire. Take for example JP Morgan (JPM) mentioned they plan to hire 9,000 workers in the U.S. this year and Intel (INTC) another 1,000 new positions.
Growth is Global
With all the headlines about Greece’s financial woes, one might underestimate the recovery abroad as well. The average earnings growth rate estimates for the G6 stock markets is +41.6% and +21.9% for 2010 and 2011 according to Ed Yardeni, but a majority of the growth is not coming from the Euro zone.
There is still no shortage of issues to worry about, assuming we understand a Utopia does not exist. Besides elevated unemployment, other issues to remain concerned about include: a lack of credit accessibility for small and medium businesses; massive government debt and deficits; and diminishing impacts in the coming quarters from government stimulus and Federal Reserve monetary stimulus.
Regardless of the nervousness, evidence continues to build for a continuation of better than expected earnings. The music will not last forever and eventual stop, but until then, our economy will enjoy the speedier than anticipated earnings growth recovery.
Read Whole Wall Street Journal Article on Earnings (Subscription)
Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®
Plan. Invest. Prosper.
*DISCLOSURE: Sidoxia Capital Management (SCM) and some of its clients own certain exchange traded funds, but at the time of publishing SCM had no direct positions in JPM, INTC, or any security referenced in this article. No information accessed through the Investing Caffeine (IC) website constitutes investment, financial, legal, tax or other advice nor is to be relied on in making an investment or other decision. Please read disclosure language on IC “Contact” page.