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Chart of the Day / This could be an earnings season for the record books

This could be an earnings season for the record books

August 14, 2018

At the moment, 80% of S&P 500 companies that have reported earnings have posted better than expected results.

“If 80% is the final number, it will mark the highest percentage since Fact Set began tracking this metric in Q3 2008,” noted John Butters, senior earnings analysts at Fact Set, as quoted by CNBC.

In the technology sector, 93% of companies exceeded forecasts. More than 96% of healthcare companies have outperformed expectations.  JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Apple, and all reported better than expected numbers just to name a few.

Home Depot just reported second quarter earnings and sale that far surpassed expectations.

EPS was $3.05, which was better than forecasts for $2.84. Revenue of $30.46 billion beat forecasts for $30.03 billion.

Same-store sales were up 8% globally as compared to expectations for just 6.6%.

Better yet, S&P 500 companies are collectively on track to show 24.6% earnings growth year over year. To say investors are impressed with the profit boom this year is an understatement.

“At this rate, quarterly earnings are on pace to post their second-highest year-over-year growth since the third quarter of 2010, when they grew by 34.1 percent, Butters said. “It will also mark the third straight quarter in which the index has reported double-digit, earnings growth. All eleven sectors are reporting year-over-year growth in earnings. Ten sectors are reporting double digit earnings growth, led by the Energy, Materials, and Information Technology sectors.”

Unfortunately, not every company has had the same cheerful sentiment.

Nielsen, the consumer engagement ratings company saw the biggest drop on earnings this season with a one-day decline of 25%.

Social media stocks were some of the biggest losers this earnings season.

Facebook (FB) plummeted after warning that it now expects user numbers to flatten over the next three years. Worse, after noting that it’s likely to face lower profit margins for the next two years, Facebook also reported that its average number of monthly users was 2.23 billion – which was 20 million users short of expectations.

Worse yet, Facebook CFO, David Wehner, said shareholders can expect “revenue growth rates to decline by high single-digit percentages from prior quarters “for the third and fourth quarters. Revenue of $13.23 billion for the second quarter came in short of expectations as the company struggled with recent fallout.

Not to be outdone, Twitter fell apart, too.

After running nearly 80% in 2018, and despite news that it posted a profit of $134 million, Twitter still fell 27%.  That’s because user numbers fell by a million from the first quarter of 2018 to 335 million.

Baird analysts noted that the drop in monthly active users justifiably spooked the market.

“Twitter’s pace of execution on key growth initiatives (streaming partnerships, new ad formats, user engagement) is encouraging, but we think shares are likely to remain under some pressure until visibility improves for user growth and spending trends,” they noted.

Despite hiccups, this may still be one of the best earnings season we’ve seen in quite some time.