Back to top

Economic Highlights

Even though we've "unofficially" entered Q2 earnings season with Alcoa's (AA - Analyst Report) top-line beat reported after the bell Monday, we're ramping-up to the busy time like an avenue in Chicago. Aside from earnings reports from Yum! Brands (YUM - Analyst Report), JPMorgan (JPM - Analyst Report) and Wells Fargo (WFC - Analyst Report) in the latter half of the week, there is but a small handful of companies posting quarterly results otherwise.

Things pick up next week with many financials following JPMorgan and Wells Fargo this week. And because the financial industry is expected to be the biggest performer in Q2, we'll likely get a fairly articulate view of how the second quarter is coming along within the next two weeks or so… just not right now.

That said, expectations for Q2 are almost laughably low at the moment. With forecasts having come down drastically in the past three months from around 3.6% to 0.4% now, the question is not whether or not the quarter will outperform expectations -- at least, we all should certainly hope it won't -- but by how much. The past two quarters, Q412 and Q113, posted actuals of 2+% -- a perfect definition of the "muddle-through" economy pretty much everyone agrees we're enduring. See here for the excellent synopsis by Zacks Director of Research Sheraz Mian:

Will Earnings Growth Bottom in Q2?


So with no particularly extreme headwinds over the past quarter, one might reasonably expect we will find ourselves back in the 2+% range once the dust settles on the quarter (and we can all go on vacation).

But even more interestingly, if you look at the graph in the link above, you'll see projected earnings literally skyrocket for Q3 and Q4 -- to 5.1% and 11.7%, respectively. And although these are year-over-year comparisons, they are anything but easy hurdles; the second half of 2012 was stronger than the first half, too. In fact, as Sheraz Mian points out, "[T]he level of total earnings expected in 2013 Q3 and Q4 represent new all-time high quarterly records."

Clearly, this puts a premium not directly on Q2 earnings (they're going to be pretty crappy) but on company guidance for Q3 and the fiscal year. We might expect things to ratchet down from 11.7% earnings in the fourth quarter -- 11.7%! -- but unless the earth crumbles beneath the feet of about every industry, we can feel secure things will be looking up in the second half. Certainly we should not ignore particularly bad guidance from anyone in the next few weeks, but barring any major catastrophe we should be enjoying new record highs in the next couple+ quarters.

Please login to Zacks.com or register to post a comment.

New to Zacks?

Start Here

Zacks Investment Research

Close

Are you a new Zacks Member or a visitor to Zacks.com?

Top Zacks Features

My Portfolio Tracker

Is it Time to Sell?

One of the most important steps you can take today is to set up your portfolio tracker on Zacks.com. Once you do, you'll be notified of major events affecting your stocks and/or funds with daily email alerts.

More Zacks Resources

Zacks Rank Home - Evaluate your stocks and use the Zacks Rank to eliminate the losers and keep the winners.

Mutual Fund Rank Home - Evaluate your funds with the Mutual Fund Rank for both your personal and retirement funds.

Stock/Mutual Fund Screening - Find better stocks and mutual funds. The ones most likely to beat the market and provide a positive return.

My Portfolio - Track your Portfolio and find out where your stocks/mutual funds stack up with the Zacks Rank.

Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers for Zacks #1 Rank Top Movers

Company Symbol Price %Chg
RPC INC RES 24.91 +8.35%
LITHIA MOTO… LAD 94.59 +4.60%
DELTA AIR L… DAL 39.15 +3.90%
FLAMEL TECH… FLML 14.51 +3.50%
SOUTHWEST A… LUV 28.87 +2.92%