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The earnings focus lately has been on the Retail sector, with J.C. Penney (JCP - Free Report) becoming the latest department store to follow the lead set by Macy’s (M - Free Report) , Kohl’s (KSS - Free Report) ,  and Nordstrom (JWN - Free Report) . These reports reconfirm what we have known for a while – that these operators needed literally to reinvent their businesses to effectively operate in an environment where consumers are steadily shifting their spending dollars to the online medium instead of visiting the physical store.

Macy’s results were particularly disappointing as it not only came out with a bigger than expected decline in same-store sales but also missed consensus EPS and revenue estimates. Kohl’s did better with respect to EPS and revenue results, on the back of disciplined inventory management and help from the inclusion of Under Armour’s (UAA - Free Report) merchandize, but same-store sales missed the mark at Kohl’s as well. The others are in the same boat. The core problem for these operators remains the steadily falling foot traffic as a result of sales moving to the online channel, which is making the group’s excessive store capacity ever more problematic.

Retail Sector Scorecard

As of Friday, May 12th, we now have Q1 results from 24 of the 42 retailers in the S&P 500 index. Total earnings for these 24 retailers are up +2.2% from the same period last year on +4.6% higher revenues, with 58.3% beating EPS estimates and 54.2% beating revenue estimates.

Please note that we have a stand-alone Retail sector, unlike the official Standard & Poor’s placement of this space in the Consumer Discretionary sector. The Zacks Retail sector includes, besides the traditional department stores and other brick-and-mortar retailers, the online vendors like Amazon and Priceline and restaurant operators. Most of the 24 Zacks Retail sector companies that have reported Q1 results already at this stage are online vendors and restaurant players, with the traditional retail operators starting the reporting process with Thursday’s Macy’s disappointment that was maintained by Nordstrom after the market’s close on Thursday and JC Penney Friday morning.

The side-by-side charts below compare the sector’s results thus far with what we have seen from the same group of 24 retailers in other recent periods.

The aggregate results from the 24 retailers that have reported Q1 results already are tracking below what we had seen from the same companies in other recent periods. This is despite the +41.1% growth in Amazon’s earnings on +22.6% higher revenues. On an ex-Amazon basis, the sector’s Q1 earnings growth would be modestly in the negative, as the right-hand chart below shows.

We will get Retail’s complete picture following this week’s results from Wal-Mart (WMT - Free Report) , Target (TGT - Free Report) and Home Depot (HD - Free Report) , but the sector’s Q1 results thus far are notably weak in an otherwise strong earnings season. Please note that the proportion of Retail sector companies beating EPS estimates (58.3%) is the second lowest in the entire S&P 500 index, while the proportion of revenue surprises (54.2%) is the fourth lowest of all 16 Zacks sectors.  

Q1 Earnings Scorecard

As of Friday, May 12th, we have Q1 results from 454 S&P 500 members that combined account for 92.5% of the index’s total market capitalization. Total earnings for these companies are up +13.9% from the same period last year on +7.9% higher revenues,with 72.2% beating EPS estimates and 66.1% beating revenue estimates. The proportion of companies beating both EPS and revenue estimates is 51.8%.

The table provides the current earnings season scorecard, as of May 12th, 2017.

Comparing Q1 Results

The chart below provides a comparison of the growth performance thus far with what we have seen from this same group of 454 S&P 500 members in other recent periods.

As you can see, the Q1 growth pace is notably tracking above what we had seen from the same group of 454 index members in other recent periods. Importantly, the growth performance is broad-based and not narrowly concentrated. We got the leadership from the Finance space earlier in the reporting cycle, but the baton has since shifted to Tech and host of other areas, including Industrials, Basic Materials, and Energy.

Positive Revenue Surprises

The chart below compares the proportion of positive EPS and revenue surprises in Q1 thus far with what we had seen from the same group of 454 index members in other recent periods.

The proportion of Q1 companies beating EPS estimates is tracking above historical periods, with positive revenue surprises particularly coming out ahead of what we are used to seeing in the recent past. You can see the same in the chart below that compares the proportion of Q1 companies beating both EPS and revenue estimates with other recent periods.

Technology Sector Scorecard

For the Technology sector, we have Q1 results from 48 of the sector’s 62 operators in the S&P 500 index. Total earnings for these 48 Tech sector companies (accounting for 88.2% of the sector’s total market cap in the index) are up +16.9% from the same period last year on +6.8% higher revenues, with 77.1% beating EPS estimates and 79.2% beating revenue estimates.

The comparison charts below show how the sector’s Q1 results thus far compare with what we have been seeing from the same group of Tech companies in other recent periods.

As you can see, the sector’s growth performance is notably tracking above other recent periods, though the proportion of positive surprises is about in-line with recent history.

Expectations for Q1 As a Whole

Looking at Q1 as whole, combining the actual results from the 454 S&P 500 members that have come out with estimates for the still-to-come 46 index members, total earnings are expected to be up +12.7% from the same period last year on +6.2% higher revenues. This would follow +7.3% earnings growth in 2016 Q4 on +4.7%.

The table below shows the summary picture for Q1, contrasted with what was actually achieved in Q4.

Please note that the Q1 earnings season follows the strong showing on the earnings front in the preceding reporting cycle. Not only did 2016 Q4 growth reach the highest in two years, but total earnings for the quarter also reached a new quarterly record. The strong Q4 performance came after the first positive earnings growth in 2016 Q3, having declined in each of the preceding 5 quarters. The strong Q1 showing represents a notable acceleration in the growth momentum.

The chart below shows the Q1 earnings growth contrasted with what is expected in the following three quarters and actual results in the preceding 5 quarters. As you can see in the chart below, this growth pace is expected to continue through the rest of the year.

Estimates for the current period (2017 Q2) have come down since the start of the quarter, but the magnitude of negative Q2 revisions still compares favorably with the comparable periods over the last two years.

In other words, Q2 estimates are falling, but they aren’t falling by as much as would typically be expected.

Note: Sheraz Mian manages the Zacks equity research department. He is an acknowledged earnings expert whose commentaries and analyses appear on Zacks.com and in the print and electronic media. His weekly earnings related articles include Earnings Trends and Earnings Preview. He manages the Zacks Top 10 and Focus List portfolios and writes the Weekly Market Analysis article for Zacks Premium subscribers.

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Here is a list of the 134 companies including 18 S&P 500 members reporting this week.

Company Ticker Current Qtr Year-Ago Qtr Last EPS Surprise % Report Day Time
SORL AUTO PARTSSORL0.150.02126.32%MondayBTO
ALDEYRA THERAPTALDX-0.33-0.5123.40%MondayBTO
TRIVAGO NV ADSTRVG0.01N/AN/AMondayBTO
SAPPI LTD -ADRSPPJYN/A0.15N/AMondayBTO
BIODELIVERY SCIBDSI0.09-0.36-3.57%MondayBTO
FORTERRA INCFRTA-0.07N/AN/AMondayBTO
LONESTAR RESRCSLONE-0.19N/A-4076.92%MondayBTO
GALMED PHARMAGLMD-0.39-0.368.11%MondayBTO
SANCHEZ PRODUCTSPP-0.59-5.73-117.09%MondayBTO
H2O INNOVATIONHEOFF0.020.020.00%MondayBTO
NETSOL TECH INCNTWK-0.010.08-400.00%MondayBTO
ONCONOVA THERAPONTXN/A-2.7-42.11%MondayBTO
QUORUM HEALTHQHC-0.47N/A57.69%MondayBTO
VICAL INCVICLN/A-0.33.85%MondayBTO
SAPIENS INTL NVSPNS0.060.11-8.33%MondayBTO
VASCULAR BIOGNCVBLT-0.17-0.21-12.50%MondayBTO
DIGITAL ALLY INDGLY-0.29-0.42-286.67%MondayBTO
REMARK MEDIAMARK-0.39-0.12-42.86%MondayBTO
WESTMORELAND COWLB-0.58-0.95-156.94%MondayBTO
LIQTECH INTLLIQT-0.040-1800.00%MondayBTO
REEDS INCREED-0.11-0.1250.00%MondayBTO
TEARLAB CORPTEAR-0.75-2.110.00%MondayAMC
CAPRICOR THERAPCAPR-0.15-0.2641.67%MondayAMC
DXP ENTERPRISESDXPE0.03-0.35200.00%MondayAMC
FLEXIBLE SOLTNSFSI0.050.0650.00%MondayAMC
HTG MOLECULR DGHTGM-0.58-1.023.80%MondayAMC
NOAH HLDGS LTDNOAHN/A0.52N/AMondayAMC
CARDIOME PHARMACRME-0.15-0.06-12.50%MondayAMC
FATE THERAPEUTCFATE-0.21-0.2930.00%MondayAMC
CLEAN DIESELCDTI-0.07-0.55-81.82%MondayAMC
EDITAS MEDICINEEDIT-0.62-0.8-66.67%MondayAMC
CLIPPER REALTYCLPR0.06N/A40.00%MondayAMC
FAMOUS DAVESDAVE-0.02-0.01-100.00%MondayAMC
EVOKE PHARMAEVOK-0.14-0.4518.18%MondayAMC
GLADSTONE INVESGAIN0.180.16-5.56%MondayAMC
KURA ONCOLOGYKURA-0.46-0.362.56%MondayAMC
LATAM AIRLINESLFL0.140.19-9.09%MondayAMC
CUMULUS MEDIACMLSN/A-0.48-737.50%MondayAMC
ELECTROMED INCELMDN/A0.0666.67%MondayAMC
FORTUNA SILVERFSM0.10.02-25.00%MondayAMC
MAM SOFTWARE GPMAMS0.030.05-33.33%MondayAMC
MARATHON PATENTMARA-0.15-0.18-544.44%MondayAMC
SOCIAL REALITYSRAXN/A-0.416.67%MondayAMC
ONE GROUP HOSPSTKS0.02-0.02-200.00%MondayAMC
VIPSHOP HOLDNGSVIPS0.160.1411.76%MondayAMC
VOXX INTL CPVOXX0.06-0.10.00%MondayAMC
CATASYS INCCATSN/A-0.36N/AMondayAMC
DYNATRONICS CPDYNTN/A-0.19N/AMondayAMC
COPEL-ADR PR BELPN/A0.13N/AMondayAMC
BOVIE MEDICALBVX-0.05-0.07-300.00%MondayAMC
ATLANTICA YIELDABY-0.19-0.26-1400.00%MondayAMC
ARC GROUP WORLDARCW-0.06-0.020.00%MondayAMC
AMYRIS INCAMRS-0.09-0.2-100.00%MondayAMC
WIDEPOINT CORPWYY-0.01-0.01100.00%MondayAMC
PARKERVISIONPRKRN/A-0.45N/AMondayAMC
NIPPON TELE-ADRNTTYYN/A0.55N/AMondayN/A
CALADRIUS BIOSCCLBS-0.72-2.111.38%MondayN/A
SYNCHRONOSS TECSNCR0.130.35-18.18%MondayN/A
HOME DEPOTHD1.611.448.27%MondayBTO
TJX COS INC NEWTJX0.790.763.00%MondayBTO
STAPLES INCSPLS0.170.170.00%MondayBTO
DICKS SPRTG GDSDKS0.540.52.33%MondayBTO
STRATASYS LTDSSYS-0.02-0.06250.00%MondayBTO
NAVIOS MARI ACQNNA0.040.15175.00%MondayBTO
KAMADA LTDKMDA-0.03-0.06-25.00%MondayBTO
MAGIC SOFTWAREMGIC0.120.1-23.08%MondayBTO
WEIBO CORP ADSWB0.160.03-24.00%MondayBTO
CYREN LTDCYRN-0.05-0.06-66.67%MondayBTO
MANCHESTER UTDMANU-0.050.130.00%MondayBTO
PALATIN TECHPTN0.25-0.0825.00%MondayBTO
SINA CORPSINA-0.28-0.270.00%MondayBTO
VODAFONE GP PLCVODN/AN/AN/AMondayBTO
XENETIC BIOSCIXBION/A-0.66N/AMondayBTO
VIRTUSA CORPVRTU0.340.438.00%MondayBTO
NETLIST INCNLST-0.06-0.0314.29%MondayAMC
URBAN OUTFITTERURBN0.160.25-1.79%MondayAMC
JACK IN THE BOXJACK0.910.85-4.84%MondayAMC
RED ROBIN GOURMRRGB0.581.2720.69%MondayAMC
DASAN ZHONE SOLDZSI-0.28-0.5-250.00%MondayAMC
ACXIOM CORPACXM0.060.08128.57%MondayAMC
BAOZUN INCBZUN0.080.01-5.88%MondayAMC
SARATOGA INVESTSARN/A0.54N/AMondayAMC
TARGET CORPTGT0.891.29-3.33%MondayBTO
SYNOPSYS INCSNPS0.560.6616.67%MondayAMC
L BRANDS INCLB0.290.596.84%MondayAMC
CISCO SYSTEMSCSCO0.530.56.00%MondayAMC
ITURAN LOCATIONITRNN/A0.34N/AMondayBTO
AFFIMED THERAPAFMD-0.27-0.2839.29%MondayBTO
PHOTRONICS INCPLAB0.050.13-25.00%MondayBTO
ENZYMOTEC LTDENZY00.06-1200.00%MondayBTO
KNOT OFFSHOR LPKNOP0.360.6843.18%MondayBTO
QIWI PLC-ADRQIWI0.240.315.00%MondayBTO
AMER EAGLE OUTFAEO0.170.222.63%MondayBTO
CITI TRENDS INCCTRNN/A0.615.56%MondayBTO
FLOWERS FOODSFLO0.260.280.00%MondayAMC
SOC QUIMICA MINSQM0.380.22-13.89%MondayAMC
JUST ENERGY GRPJE0.280.12711.11%MondayAMC
ZTO EXPRESS INCZTO0.09N/A-86.36%MondayAMC
REXNORD CORPRXN0.330.374.17%MondayAMC
EDAP TMS SA-ADREDAP-0.030.04200.00%MondayAMC
WAL-MART STORESWMT0.960.980.78%MondayBTO
RALPH LAUREN CPRL0.790.8813.41%MondayBTO
APPLD MATLS INCAMAT0.760.341.52%MondayAMC
GAP INCGPS0.290.320.00%MondayAMC
SALESFORCE.COMCRM0.050.08-50.00%MondayAMC
AUTODESK INCADSK-0.36-0.27-14.29%MondayAMC
ROSS STORESROST0.80.732.67%MondayAMC
MCKESSON CORPMCK3.042.442.71%MondayAMC
CHILDRENS PLACEPLCE1.631.3218.24%MondayBTO
EAGLE MATERIALSEXP0.860.81.74%MondayBTO
NATL GRID -ADRNGGN/AN/AN/AMondayBTO
TEEKAY LNG PTNRTGP0.360.44-50.00%MondayBTO
ALIBABA GROUPBABA0.490.228.24%MondayBTO
BUCKLE INCBKE0.340.48-5.13%MondayBTO
STAGE STORESSSI-0.68-0.56-31.03%MondayBTO
TEEKAY OFFSHORETOO-0.120.41-125.00%MondayBTO
POINTER TELOCATPNTR0.210.2866.67%MondayBTO
TOP IMAGE SYSTISA-0.08-0.03-2000.00%TuesdayBTO
VISTRA ENERGYVST0.01N/AN/ATuesdayBTO
APOLLO INV CPAINV0.160.26.25%TuesdayBTO
TEEKAY TANKERSTNK0.070.29-25.00%TuesdayBTO
MONRO MUFFLERMNRO0.350.421.92%TuesdayBTO
PERRY ELLIS INTPERY0.721.0110.00%TuesdayBTO
TEEKAY CORPTK-0.17-0.08-175.00%TuesdayBTO
HIBBET SPORTSHIBB0.951.220.00%TuesdayBTO
VERSO CORP-AVRS0.09N/A5.26%TuesdayBTO
SAFE BULKERSSB-0.09-0.21-12.50%TuesdayAMC
SPORTSMANS WRHSSPWH-0.070-7.41%TuesdayAMC
GLOBANT SAGLOB0.250.230.00%TuesdayAMC
NEW YORK & CONWYN/A-0.09-20.00%TuesdayAMC
DEERE & CODE1.641.5622.00%TuesdayBTO
FOOT LOCKER INCFL1.381.394.58%TuesdayBTO
CAMPBELL SOUPCPB0.640.653.41%TuesdayBTO
DESTINATION XLDXLG-0.04016.67%TuesdayBTO


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