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Earnings Preview

The fourth quarter reporting season is underway, and we have results from 27 companies in the S&P 500 already (as of Friday, January 11th). The pace of reporting accelerates this week, though we don’t get into the heart of the earnings season till the week after.

We will get fourth quarter earnings results from 69 companies, including 37 from the S&P 500. The earnings reports thus far have been relatively improved, but after more than a tenth of the earnings reports out by the end of the week, we will have a better sample size to evaluate how this earnings season is unfolding.

The performance of the 27 companies that have already reported are better in all respects compared to what these same companies did in the third quarter. The growth rate is higher, more companies are beating, and the median surprise is higher -- both for earnings and revenues.

But with 95% of the reports still to come, the more important story on the earnings front pertains to expectations from the coming reports. And there has been no letup in the downward adjustments to those expectations. Last week’s foreclosure related banking settlement caused further negative revisions to estimates to a number of banks, particularly Bank of America (BAC). The Zacks Consensus estimate for Bank of America fell from 19 cents to 2 cents last week, a roughly $2 billion swing in earnings.

This week’s earnings reports are heavily weighted towards Finance, with all the major banks coming out with fourth quarter results. We got solid earnings and revenue beats from Wells Fargo (WFC) due to its strong mortgage franchise, but the bank’s net interest margin (NIM) remained under pressure.

This means that other banks with smaller mortgage businesses will be even more at the mercy of the unfavorable NIM backdrop. We’ll know more this week, as Bank of America, JPMorgan (JPM), Citigroup (C) and many of the other major regional banks like US Bancorp (USB) and BB&T (BBT) report results, but expectations for Finance sector earnings have come down.

Total fourth quarter earnings for the Finance sector, which a few days back were expected to be up +9.7%, are now expected to be up only +2%. As a result, total earnings for the 473 S&P 500 companies that have still to report results are now expected to be down -1.2% from the same period last year.

The composite expected growth rate, where we combine the 27 companies that have reported results with the 473 still to come, is now +0.2%. The composite revenue growth rate is for a drop of -1.2%. Finance aside, we have a few major Tech companies like Intel (INTC) and eBay (EBAY) reporting, but that sector’s big guns will be coming out the following week.  

Earnings will be the focus, but we have a fair number of key economic reports on deck as well, ranging from Retail Sales and CPI to Housing Starts.

Monday - 1/14

  • We don’t have much on the economic or earnings calendar today, with the only significant earnings report in the morning from specialty chemicals maker PPG Industries (PPG).

Tuesday - 1/15

  • We will have the December Retail Sales numbers in the morning, with consensus expectation of +0.2% increase on the headline following the +0.3% gain in November. We will also the December PPI and January Empire State Index in the morning.
  • Homebuilder Lennar Corp (LEN) will report in the morning.

Wednesday - 1/16

  • We will get the December CPI, Industrial Production and Homebuilder Sentiment Index coming out today. The CPI is expected to remain unchanged at the ‘headline’ level and increase by +0.1% on the ‘core.’ The homebuilder sentiment index is expected to modestly increase from November’s 47 level.
  • We have busy earnings day, with JPMorgan (JPM) and Goldman Sachs (GS) reporting results in the morning, while eBay (EBAY) reports after the close.
  • Zacks ESP or Earnings Surprise Prediction, our proprietary leading indicator of earnings surprises, is showing Goldman and eBay coming out with earnings beats.

Thursday - 1/17

  • In addition to weekly Jobless Claims, we will get the December Housing Starts and the January Philly Fed Index reports. Housing Starts are expected to increase to 883K from November’s 861K level, while the Philly Fed is expected to modestly lose ground from the prior month’s level.
  • We will get results from Bank of America (BAC) and Citigroup (C) in the morning, while Intel (INTC) will report after the close.

Friday - 1/18

  • We will get the preliminary University of Michigan Sentiment Survey in the morning, with expectations of a modest increase from month’s 72.9 level.
  • General Electric (GE) and Schlumberger (SLB) are the major reports, both in the morning.


Here is a list of the 69 companies reporting this week, including 37 S&P 500 members:

Company Ticker Current Qtr Year-Ago Qtr Last EPS Surprise % Report Day Time
LIMONEIRA CO LMNR 0.07 0.04 -8.16 Monday AMC
MATERIAL SCI CP MASC 0.21 0.34 -40 Monday BTO
PPG INDS INC PPG 1.53 1.3 1.36 Monday BTO
COMMERCE BANCSH CBSH 0.72 0.66 -2.6 Tuesday BTO
FOREST LABS A FRX -0.13 1.04 -16 Tuesday BTO
FULTON FINL FULT 0.2 0.18 5 Tuesday AMC
INTERACTIVE BRK IBKR 0.22 0.3 -25.71 Tuesday AMC
LENNAR CORP -A LEN 0.43 0.16 25.93 Tuesday BTO
LINEAR TEC CORP LLTC 0.4 0.4 0 Tuesday AMC
MERCANTILE BANK MBWM 0.31 0.3 -11.76 Tuesday BTO
PINNACLE FIN PT PNFP 0.33 0.17 10 Tuesday AMC
RENASANT CORP RNST 0.28 0.23 7.69 Tuesday AMC
ADTRAN INC ADTN 0.07 0.48 6.25 Wednesday N/A
BANK OF NY MELL BK 0.54 0.48 16.67 Wednesday BTO
BANK OZARKS OZRK 0.55 0.51 0 Wednesday AMC
BOSTON PRIV FIN BPFH 0.17 0.14 11.76 Wednesday AMC
CLARCOR INC CLC 0.7 0.73 -13.04 Wednesday AMC
COMERICA INC CMA 0.64 0.6 6.15 Wednesday BTO
CVB FINL CVBF 0.22 0.21 -43.75 Wednesday AMC
EBAY INC EBAY 0.61 0.55 6.52 Wednesday AMC
EL PASO PIPELIN EPB 0.55 0.51 10 Wednesday AMC
FIRST REP BK SF FRC 0.73 0.68 2.86 Wednesday BTO
GOLDMAN SACHS GS 3.31 1.84 30.73 Wednesday BTO
JPMORGAN CHASE JPM 1.2 0.9 15.7 Wednesday BTO
KINDER MORG ENG KMP 0.67 0.55 0 Wednesday AMC
NORTHERN TRUST NTRS 0.75 0.7 -1.35 Wednesday BTO
PACIFIC CONTL PCBK 0.19 -0.05 18.75 Wednesday AMC
PLEXUS CORP PLXS 0.49 0.51 4.76 Wednesday AMC
SCHWAB(CHAS) SCHW 0.15 0.13 0 Wednesday BTO
SLM CORP SLM 0.53 0.51 7.41 Wednesday AMC
US BANCORP USB 0.74 0.64 1.37 Wednesday BTO
WENDYS CO/THE WEN 0.04 0.04 -40 Wednesday BTO
WNS HLDGS-ADR WNS 0.25 0.26 0 Wednesday BTO
AMER EXPRESS CO AXP 1.05 1.04 0 Thursday AMC
AMPHENOL CORP-A APH 0.9 0.73 1.12 Thursday BTO
ASML HOLDING NV ASML 0.77 1.13 0 Thursday BTO
ASSOC BANC CORP ASBC 0.26 0.23 4 Thursday AMC
BANK OF AMER CP BAC 0.02 0.15 -100 Thursday BTO
BB&T CORP BBT 0.7 0.55 0 Thursday BTO
BLACKROCK INC BLK 3.69 3.06 5.15 Thursday BTO
CAPITAL ONE FIN COF 1.63 0.89 16 Thursday AMC
CITIGROUP INC C 0.88 0.38 9.28 Thursday BTO
FASTENAL FAST 0.33 0.3 0 Thursday BTO
FIFTH THIRD BK FITB 0.42 0.33 0 Thursday BTO
HOME BANCSHARES HOMB 0.66 0.5 1.79 Thursday BTO
HUNTINGTON BANC HBAN 0.17 0.14 11.76 Thursday BTO
IGATE CORP IGTE 0.35 0.24 -2.94 Thursday BTO
INSTEEL INDS IIIN 0.05 0 -50 Thursday BTO
INTEL CORP INTC 0.45 0.64 20 Thursday AMC
MATTHEWS INTL-A MATW 0.46 0.42 -6.67 Thursday AMC
NETSCOUT SYSTMS NTCT 0.3 0.31 17.39 Thursday BTO
PEOPLES UTD FIN PBCT 0.19 0.17 0 Thursday AMC
PNC FINL SVC CP PNC 1.56 1.39 1.86 Thursday BTO
TAIWAN SEMI-ADR TSM 0.27 0.2 3.23 Thursday BTO
TESSCO TECH INC TESS 0.56 0.59 33.33 Thursday AMC
UNITEDHEALTH GP UNH 1.2 1.17 11.94 Thursday BTO
VIRGINIA COMMRC VCBI 0.14 0.17 -5.56 Thursday BTO
XILINX INC XLNX 0.37 0.42 12.2 Thursday AMC
FIRST HRZN NATL FHN 0.17 0.13 -5.56 Friday BTO
GENL ELECTRIC GE 0.43 0.39 0 Friday BTO
JOHNSON CONTROL JCI 0.51 0.6 2.67 Friday BTO
MCMORAN EXPLOR MMR -0.11 -0.03 -6.67 Friday BTO
PARKER HANNIFIN PH 1.14 1.56 -9.25 Friday BTO
PROGRESSIVE COR PGR 0.34 0.37 3.7 Friday BTO
ROCKWELL COLLIN COL 0.9 0.86 21.1 Friday BTO
SCHLUMBERGER LT SLB 1.09 1.11 1.89 Friday BTO
STATE ST CORP STT 1 0.93 3.13 Friday BTO
SUNTRUST BKS STI 0.62 0.28 -1 Friday BTO
WEBSTER FINL CP WBS 0.49 0.43 4.35 Friday BTO

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