With results from 87 S&P 500 members already out, we are off to a strong start in Q1 earnings season.
The earnings and revenue growth rates and the proportion of positive earnings surprises are tracking materially above historical periods. Positive revenue surprises aren’t as numerous as we had seen at this stage in the preceding earnings season, but are nevertheless tracking in-line with historical levels.
Estimates for the current period (2018 Q2) haven’t moved much since the Q1 earnings season got underway, but that will likely start showing up this week as move into the heart of the earnings season, with more than 680 companies reporting March quarter results, including 178 S&P 500 members. By the end of this week, we will have seen Q1 results from more than half of the S&P 500 members. With more than 35% S&P 500 members on deck to report results this week, we will have representation from every sector, but the notable ones are below.
Monday, April 23
We have 10 index members reporting results today, with Google’s parent Alphabet (GOOGL) as the key report coming after the market’s close. The search giant is expected to earn $9.21 per share on $24.29 billion in revenues, up +9.2% and +20.7% from the year-earlier period, respectively. The revisions trend has been negative, with the current Zacks Consensus EPS of $9.21 down from $9.27 a month back.
The stock has struggled since the weaker than expected results for the preceding period on February 1, with the stock lagging the broader Tech sector this year. Alphabet shares are up +3% in the year-to-date period vs. +5.6% gain for the sector and +1.3% gain for the S&P 500 index.
Tuesday, April 24
We have 33 index members on deck to report results this day, with Caterpillar (CAT), Verizon (VZ), Coca Cola (KO) and 3M (MMM) as the notable reports, all in the morning session.
Caterpillar shares have struggled as trade issues have taken center stage, with the stock down -2.1% in the year-to-date period vs. +1.2% gain for the S&P 500 index. The company is expected to earn $2.11 per share on $11.6 billion in revenues, up +64.8% and +17.9% from the year-earlier period, respectively. Estimates have been going up, with the current $2.11 EPS estimate up $2.07 a month back and $1.76 three months back.
Wednesday, April 25
A busy day on the reporting front, with 49 index members on deck report quarterly results, including Boeing (BA) in the morning and Facebook (FB) after the market’s close.
Facebook is expected to earn $1.36 per share on $11.5 billion in revenues, up +10.5% and +42.7% from the year-earlier period, respectively. The company’s tally of daily active users will be of as much importance to the market as its top- and bottom-line results. Also important will be engagement level following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the impact the privacy issue may have on ad revenues. Facebook shares have lagged the Tech sector this year, with the stock down -5.4% in the year-to-date period vs. +5.7% gain for the sector.
Thursday, April 26
A very busy day, with 68 S&P 500 members reporting March-quarter results, with Amazon (AMZN), Starbucks (SBUX), Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) among some of the very major reporters this day.
Amazon is expected to earn $1.19 per share on $50.2 billion in revenues, representing year-over-year change of a decline of -19.6% and gain of +40.4%, respectively. The company has long ‘trained’ the market not to look for earnings performance in its quarterly results, and that will likely be case this time around.
The key factor will be overall revenues and performance of the company’s cloud business, Amazon Web Services (AWS). The stock has been a strong performer this year, up +30.7% in the year-to-date period, though President Trump’s persistent negative tweets continue to be a headline issue.
Friday, April 27
Exxon (XOM) and Chevron (CVX) are the notable companies of the 16 S&P 500 members reporting results Friday morning. Exxon is expected to earn $1.20 per share on $67.3 billion in revenues, up +26.3% and +6.4% from the year-earlier level, respectively. Both the stocks have made gains in recent days on favorable crude oil momentum, but they remain in negative territory this year (-5% for XOM and -1.4% for CVX).
Q1 Earnings Season Scorecard (as of Friday, April 20)
Total earnings for the 87 S&P 500 members that have reported results already are up +25% from the same period last year on +10.7% higher revenues, with 82.8% beating EPS estimates and 67.8% beating revenue estimates. The proportion of companies beating both EPS and revenue estimates is 62.1%.
To put these results in a historical context, the charts below compare the results thus far with what we had seen from the same group of 87 index members in other recent periods.
As mentioned earlier, earnings and revenue growth rate and the proportion of positive EPS surprises is tracking above what we have been seeing from the same group of 87 index members. But revenue surprises aren’t as widespread as was the case in the preceding earnings season.
In other words, the revenue growth momentum that we have been seeing over the last couple of earnings seasons is still in place, but revenue surprises are tracking below what we had seen in the preceding period and only in-line with the 4-quarter period, as the chart below shows:
Finance Sector Scorecard (as of Friday, April 20th)
We now have Q1 results from 29 of the 98 Finance sector companies in the S&P 500 index. Keep in mind, however, that these 29 companies account for 52.5% of the sector’s total market capitalization in the index.