Thoughts from our Domestic Equity Team
The majority of US corporations have by now reported their fourth quarter earnings, and by and large the results were positive, in our view. Aggregate earnings grew by nearly 9% compared with the prior year period, which was comfortably ahead of analysts’ expectations. Sales growth also came in modestly ahead of forecasts. However, while the reported results were encouraging to us, guidance for the current year underwhelmed. Of the S&P 500 companies which provided earnings projections, only about a quarter came in ahead of consensus expectations. Of course, corporate management teams often build in a sizeable degree of conservatism into their forecasts in order to minimize the possibility of missing their numbers. Investors appear to be taking this guidance shortfall with a grain of salt, as the market has been quite robust during the greater part of earnings season. In fact, as of this writing, market gains in February have mitigated January’s decline and stocks have now moved into positive territory for the year.
Submitted by: Jason Sheer, CFA
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