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Earnings Preview

Q1 Earnings Season Gets Underway

We will start counting Tuesday’s earnings announcements from Adobe Systems (ADBE) and Oracle (ORCL - Free Report) as part of 2014 Q1 reporting cycle, though we are still a few weeks away from the earnings season taking the spotlight.

The market has plenty of domestic economic data to digest this week in a backdrop of developments in Ukraine and renewed questions about China’s growth outlook. On the docket this week are a host of housing, inflation, and manufacturing sector reports, but the focus will be on the FOMC meeting, particularly Fed Chairwoman Yellen’s first press conference.

The Fed isn’t expected to spring any surprises on the market. But with the unemployment rate not too far from the Fed’s 6.5% target, they will need to move past explicit thresholds without roiling the markets. This isn’t easy to do, as too vague a threshold leaves open the risk that the market gets ahead of the Fed in pricing the eventual monetary tightening. The FOMC could address this issue in its official statement on Wednesday, but the issue is bound to come in Janet Yellen’s press event that afternoon.

Beyond the Fed and economic data, we have a number of corporate bellwethers coming out with 2014 Q1 results (companies with fiscal quarters ending in February and reporting in March get counted as part of Q1 tally), which includes besides Oracle, Nike (NKE - Free Report) , FedEx (FDX - Free Report) , General Mills (GIS - Free Report) and KB Home (KBH - Free Report) .

These Q1 earnings reports aside, we are in the transition phase between two earnings seasons when the last one hasn’t completely ended even as the new one is upon us. Of this week’s 80 earnings announcements, there are only 18 companies with fiscal quarters ending in February and getting counted towards the Q1 tally; the rest belong the 2013 Q4 reporting cycle (we have Q4 earnings reports from 497 S&P 500 companies, as of Friday, March 14th).

Expectations for 2014 Q1

Estimates for 2014 Q1 started coming down at an accelerated pace as companies predominantly guided lower on the 2013 Q4 earnings calls, consistent with the trend we have been seeing for more than a year now. Total Q1 earnings for companies in the S&P 500 are currently expected to be down -1.5% from the same period last year, a material decline from the +2.1% growth expected in early January 2014.

The negative revision trend is widespread, but is particularly notable for the Retail, Basic Materials, Autos, Consumer Staples, and the Energy sectors, as the chart below shows.

With roughly two-thirds of S&P 500 companies beating earnings expectations in any reporting cycle, actual Q1 results will almost certainly be better than these pre-season expectations. But Q1 is unlikely to repeat the performance of the last few quarters where we would witness a new all-time earnings total record each quarter. Total earnings for the S&P 500 are on track to reach $269.4 billion in 2013 Q4 (we still have 3 more companies to report results before ‘closing the books’ on that quarter). This is a new all-time quarterly record for total earnings, surpassing the previous record set in 2013 Q3 at $262.7 billion. Current estimates for 2014 Q1 aggregate to a quarterly total of $252.4 billion, but the expectation is for a strong ramp up from Q2 onwards.

Scorecard for 2013 Q4 (as of Friday, March 14th)

With respect to the ‘scorecard’ for 2013 Q4, we are still waiting for results from 3 S&P 500 members. Total earnings for the 497 S&P 500 members that have reported results  are up +9.2% from the same period last year, with a ‘beat ratio’ of 64.2% and a median surprise of +2.4%. Total revenues are barely in the positive column, up only +0.7%, with a revenue ‘beat ratio’ of 55.9% and a median surprise of +0.6%. While the revenue growth rate in Q4 was held down by tough comparisons in the Finance sector, the overall earnings growth rate in the quarter was the highest of 2013.

A big contributor to the strong Q4 earnings growth is easy comparisons for three companies – Bank of America (BAC), Verizon (VZ - Free Report) , and Travelers (TRV). Exclude these three companies and total earnings growth for the S&P 500 companies that have reported drops to +5.5% from the ‘headline’ +9.2%, which is about where growth has been in recent quarters.

For a detailed at the Q4 earnings season and the overall earnings picture, please check out our weekly Earnings Trends report.  


  • A busy day on the economic calendar, with March Empire State manufacturing survey and Homebuilder sentiment index coming out before the open. Also coming out this morning is the February Industrial Production report.

Tuesday -3/18

  • Housing Starts and CPI for February are the notable economic reports this morning. The two-day FOMC meeting will get underway today.
  • Adobe Systems (ADBE) and Oracle (ORCL - Free Report) are the notable earnings reports today, both after the close.
  • Earnings ESP or Expected Surprise Prediction, our proprietary leading indicator of positive earnings surprises is showing Oracle coming out with an earning beat.
  • Our research shows that companies with Zacks Rank of 1, 2 or 3 and positive Earnings ESP are highly likely to beat EPS estimates. Oracle has Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and Earnings ESP of +1.5%.
  • To get a better understanding of Zacks Earnings Surprise Predictor, please click here.   


  • The Fed is in focus today, with the FOMC coming out with its statement and followed by Chairwoman Yellen’s press conference.
  • FedEx (FDX - Free Report) , General Mills (GIS - Free Report) and KB Homes (KBH - Free Report) will report in the morning, while Jabil Circuit (JBL - Free Report) and Guess (GES - Free Report) will report after the close.
  • Earnings ESP is showing General Mills beating EPS expectations. General Mills has Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and Earnings ESP of +1.5%

Thursday -3/20

  • In addition to weekly Jobless Claims, we will get the February Existing Home sales data and the March Philly Fed regional survey.
  • ConAgra (CAG - Free Report) and Lennar Corp (LEN - Free Report) are the notable earnings reports in the morning, while Nike (NKE - Free Report) will report after the close.


  • Not much on the economic calendar, while Tiffany (TIF - Free Report) and Darden Restaurants (DRI - Free Report) will report earnings results, both in the morning.
  • Tiffany with a Zacks Rank of 3 and Earnings ESP of +0.7% is expected to come out with a positive earnings surprise.

Here is a list of the 80 companies reporting this week, including 10 S&P 500 members.

Company Ticker Current Qtr Year-Ago Qtr Last EPS Surprise % Report Day Time
ARES COMMERCIAL ACRE 0.2 0.13 -46.15 Monday BTO
ALTEVA ALTV 0.13 -0.21 N/A Monday AMC
APPRICUS BIOSCI APRI -0.06 -0.21 10 Monday AMC
ALPHATEC HLDGS ATEC -0.02 -0.01 150 Monday AMC
BIOLINE RX LTD BLRX -0.18 -0.3 -11.11 Monday BTO
DTS INC DTSI N/A 0.17 85.71 Monday AMC
COPEL-ADR PR B ELP N/A -0.18 4.88 Monday N/A
FIBROCELL SCIEN FCSC -0.26 N/A -128.57 Monday BTO
FUTUREFUEL CORP FF 0.2 0.15 -2.78 Monday AMC
FORTUNA SILVER FSM 0.04 0.07 -100 Monday N/A
GAIAM INC GAIA -0.02 0.09 0 Monday AMC
GENIE ENERGY-B GNE -0.05 0.08 100 Monday AMC
HEALTH INS INN HIIQ 0.09 N/A 14.29 Monday N/A
INOVIO PHARMAC INO -0.03 -0.02 0 Monday BTO
IMAGEWARE SYS IWSY -0.02 -0.02 N/A Monday AMC
JA SOLAR HOLDGS JASO -0.03 -2.65 11.9 Monday BTO
KYTHERA BIOPHRM KYTH -0.69 -1.04 16.22 Monday AMC
LATAM AIRLINES LFL 0.16 0.01 80 Monday AMC
LMI AEROSPACE LMIA 0 0.38 -27.27 Monday BTO
MELA SCIENCES MELA -0.1 -0.19 0 Monday AMC
OFS CAPITAL CRP OFS 0.16 N/A -21.05 Monday BTO
STERLING CONSTR STRL -1.47 0.01 25 Monday BTO
TSAKOS EGY NAVG TNP -0.08 -0.16 66.67 Monday BTO
TROVAGENE INC TROV -0.23 -0.1 80.65 Monday AMC
TOWERSTREAM CP TWER -0.1 -0.12 0 Monday AMC
ADOBE SYSTEMS ADBE 0.12 0.22 -5.26 Tuesday AMC
ORACLE CORP ORCL 0.67 0.63 3.13 Tuesday AMC
AERIE PHARMACT AERI -0.21 N/A -502.08 Tuesday AMC
GLOBAL B&C HLD BRSS 0.33 N/A -5.26 Tuesday AMC
CONSOLTD WATER CWCO 0.05 0.25 -25 Tuesday BTO
DSW INC CL-A DSW 0.29 0.34 0 Tuesday BTO
FACTSET RESH FDS 1.22 0.89 -1.61 Tuesday BTO
GLOBAL POWER EQ GLPW 0.36 0.51 5.26 Tuesday N/A
GTT COMMUNICATN GTT -0.09 -0.02 55.56 Tuesday BTO
MOBILE TELE-ADR MBT 0.42 0.58 40 Tuesday BTO
PAC SUNWEAR CAL PSUN -0.18 -0.17 0 Tuesday AMC
RENREN INC-ADR RENN 0.05 -0.06 22.22 Tuesday AMC
PROSENA HLDG BV RNA -0.14 N/A -60 Tuesday BTO
TRADE ST RESID TSRE 0.05 N/A -87.5 Tuesday AMC
YINGLI GREEN EN YGE -0.17 -0.94 0 Tuesday BTO
FEDEX CORP FDX 1.52 1.23 -4.85 Wednesday BTO
GENL MILLS GIS 0.68 0.64 -5.68 Wednesday BTO
JABIL CIRCUIT JBL 0.02 0.45 34.04 Wednesday AMC
ACTUANT CORP ATU 0.32 0.35 -4.35 Wednesday BTO
BACTERIN INTL BONE -0.08 -0.11 -100 Wednesday AMC
CLARCOR INC CLC 0.42 0.47 -1.43 Wednesday AMC
ELBIT SYSTEMS ESLT 1.46 1.62 3.94 Wednesday BTO
EVOGENE LTD EVGN -0.08 -0.02 N/A Wednesday BTO
FRANCO NV CP FNV 0.22 0.33 26.32 Wednesday AMC
GUESS INC GES 0.8 0.95 7.69 Wednesday AMC
KB HOME KBH 0.08 -0.16 -31.11 Wednesday BTO
HERMAN MILLER MLHR 0.34 0.32 2.44 Wednesday AMC
TILLYS INC TLYS 0.18 0.32 4.76 Wednesday AMC
VERA BRADLEY VRA 0.46 0.62 8.82 Wednesday BTO
EXONE CO/THE XONE 0.01 0.04 0 Wednesday AMC
CONAGRA FOODS CAG 0.6 0.55 12.73 Thursday BTO
LENNAR CORP -A LEN 0.28 0.26 14.06 Thursday BTO
NIKE INC-B NKE 0.73 0.73 1.72 Thursday AMC
AMBIT BIOSCIENC AMBI -0.43 N/A 14.29 Thursday AMC
CATO CORP A CATO 0.13 0.27 21.43 Thursday BTO
ENVIVIO INC ENVI -0.14 -0.18 21.43 Thursday AMC
IHS INC-A IHS 0.75 0.47 17.24 Thursday BTO
MARCUS CORP MCS 0 -0.01 -12.5 Thursday BTO
NEW RESID INV NRZ 0.16 N/A -16.67 Thursday BTO
RALLY SOFTWARE RALY -0.31 N/A 14.81 Thursday AMC
SCHOLASTIC CORP SCHL -0.35 -0.63 -2.27 Thursday BTO
SHOE CARNIVAL SCVL 0.04 0.16 5.88 Thursday AMC
SILVER WHEATON SLW 0.25 0.5 -4.35 Thursday AMC
TIBCO SOFTWARE TIBX 0.11 0.09 9.38 Thursday AMC
WET SEAL INC -A WTSL -0.24 -0.06 0 Thursday AMC
DARDEN RESTRNT DRI 0.82 1.02 -25 Friday BTO
TIFFANY & CO TIF 1.52 1.4 25.86 Friday BTO

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