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Note: The following is an excerpt from this week’sEarnings Trends report. You can access the full report that contains detailed historical actual and estimates for the current and following periods, please click here>>>

Here are the key points:

•    The Q2 earnings season has ended for 10 of the 16 Zacks sectors, with results from only 52 S&P 500 index members still awaited at this stage. Total earnings for the 448 index members that have reported are up +10.9% from the same period last year on +5.8% higher revenues, with 73.9% beating EPS estimates and 67.9% beating revenue estimates.

•    While growth is a bit on the lighter side relative to the preceding period for these 448 index members, the proportion of companies beating estimates, particularly revenue estimates, is notably tracking above other periods.

•    For Q2 as a whole, combining the actual results with estimates for the still-to-come companies, total earnings are expected to be up +10.1% from the same period last year on +5.3% higher revenues. This would be coming after +13.5% earnings growth on +7.1% higher revenues in Q1.

•    While the Q2 earnings growth pace represents a deceleration from the prior-quarter’s level, total earnings for the quarter are on track to reach a new all-time quarterly record.

•    The Q2 growth is broad-based and not concentrated in one or two sectors. The strongest growth is from the Energy, Technology, Aerospace, Construction, Finance, Business Services, and Industrial Products sectors. Q2 earnings growth would fall to +8.6% on +4.8% higher revenues on an ex-Energy basis.
 
•    Beyond Q2, total earnings for the S&P 500 index are currently expected to grow by +4.1% on +4.6% higher revenues in the September quarter and +8.8% on +5.5% higher revenues in Q4.  

•    Estimates for Q3 have come down, but they appear to be following the moderate revisions pace we saw ahead of the start of the Q2 earnings season. Estimates have fallen for 14 of the 16 Zacks sectors, with the Technology and Industrial Products sectors experiencing positive revisions.  

•    For full-year 2017, total earnings for the index are expected to be up +7.5% on +4.2% higher revenues, which would follow +0.8% earnings growth on +2% higher revenues in 2016. Index earnings are expected to be up +10.9% in 2018 and +8.6% in 2019.

Q2 Earnings Season Scorecard (as of August 9th, 2017)

We now have Q2 results from 448 S&P 500 members or 89.6% of the index’s total market membership. Total earnings for these 448 index members are up +10.9% from the same period last year on +5.8% higher revenues, with 73.9% beating EPS estimates and 67.9% beating revenue estimates. The proportion of companies beating both EPS and revenue estimates is an above-average 54%.

The comparison charts below compare the results thus far with what we have seen from the same group of 448 index members in other recent periods.

As you can see, the earnings and revenue growth pace is tracking modestly below what we saw from the same group of companies in the preceding period. But the growth pace is nevertheless notable improvement over the four and 12-quarter averages. The proportion of positive surprises, particularly revenue surprise is notably tracking above historical periods.

The chart below compares the proportion of companies beating both EPS and revenue estimates.

The Technology Momentum

While the aggregate Q2 growth pace is tracking below the preceding-quarter’s level, that isn’t the case with the Technology sector where growth as well as the positive beats are tracking above other periods. Total earnings for the 77% of the sector companies that have reported results are up +17.3% from the same period last year +9% higher revenues, with 83% beating EPS estimates and 85.1% beating revenue estimates.

This is an improvement over what we have seen form the same group of Tech companies in other recent periods, including the preceding quarter when the sector’s results were very strong.

Looking at Q2 as a whole, combining the actual results from the 448 index members with estimates for the still-to-come 52 companies, total earnings are expected to be up +10.1 on +5.3% higher revenues. This would follow +13.5% earnings growth on +7.1% higher revenue growth in 2017 Q1.

Record Q2 Earnings & Expectations Beyond

Estimates for the current period (2017 Q3) have come down, with the current +4.1% earnings growth down from +6.3% at the start of the period, as the chart below shows.

This is about in-line with the revisions trend we saw ahead of the start of the Q2 earnings season and a notable improvement over the trend we have been seeing over the last few years. Estimates have fallen for 14 of the 16 Zacks sectors, with Energy, Basic Materials and Autos experiencing the most negative revisions. Estimates have gone up for the Technology and Industrial Products sectors, which can be seen in the revisions trend for operators like Caterpillar (CAT - Free Report) , Facebook (FB - Free Report) , Intel (INTC - Free Report) and others.

While the earnings growth pace is decelerating from the prior-quarter’s level, the overall dollar tally of Q2 earnings is on track to reach a new all-time record for the index, surpassing the previous record achieved in 2016 Q4. The chart below shows the quarterly earnings totals for index, contrasting the highlighted Q2 tally with actual results from the last 4 quarters and expected tallies in the coming 4 quarters.

As you can see, this record isn’t expected to last very long, with growth expected to ramp up notably in the coming quarters.

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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