CHICAGO, Nov. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Director of Research Sheraz Mian says, "Q3 earnings season had a shaky start... but all of that changed over the last two weeks."
Q3 Earnings: The Best of 2013 Thus Far
The Q3 earnings season started weak, but has turned out to be the best of 2013. But before we get too carried away with that positive take, let's not forget that the 'best of 2013' may not be much to crow about, particularly in terms of growth. There is simply not much growth and most companies are still guiding lower, prompting estimates for Q4 to come down.
That said, the picture emerging from the Q3 earnings season compares favorably to recent quarters in terms of growth, beat ratios, and the absolute level of total earnings, which are on track to reach a new all-time record in Q3.
Total earnings for the 440 S&P 500 companies that have reported results already, as of Thursday morning November 7th, are up +4.6% from the same period last year, with 65.7% beating earnings expectations with a median surprise of +2.6%. Total revenues for these companies are up +2.9%, with 51.4% beating revenue expectations with a median surprise of +0.1%.
The earnings beat ratio looks more normal now than was the case earlier in this reporting cycle. It didn't make much sense for companies to be struggling to beat earnings expectations following the significant estimate cuts in the run up to the reporting season.
The composite earnings growth rate for Q3, combining the results from the 440 that have come out with the 60 still to come, currently remains at +4.6% on +2.9% higher revenues. This will be the best earnings growth rate of 2013 thus far, though expectations are for even stronger growth in Q4.
Guidance has been overwhelmingly negative over the last few quarters and is not much different in Q3 either, a few notable exceptions aside. We saw underwhelming guidance earlier in the cycle from such bellwethers as Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX-Free Report), Dow Chemicals (NYSE: DOW-Free Report), and Caterpillar (NYSE: CAT-Free Report), and more recently from Whole Foods (Nasdaq: WFM-Free Report), Kellogg (NYSE: K-Free Report), and others.
Given this backdrop, estimates for Q4 will most likely come down quite a bit in the coming weeks. And with the market expecting the Fed to wait till early next year to start Tapering its QE program, investors may shrug this coming period of negative estimate revisions, just like they have been doing for more than a year now.
Want stock picks from Zacks Equity Research that are based on earnings estimates? Subscribe to the free "Profit from the Pros" newsletter: Click here
About Zacks Equity Research
Zacks Equity Research provides the best of quantitative and qualitative analysis to help investors know what stocks to buy and which to sell for the long-term.
Continuous analyst coverage is provided for a universe of 1,150 publicly traded stocks. Our analysts are organized by industry which gives them keen insights to developments that affect company profits and stock performance. Recommendations and target prices are six-month time horizons.
Zacks "Profit from the Pros" e-mail newsletter provides highlights of the latest analysis from Zacks Equity Research. Click here to subscribe to this free newsletter today.
Zacks.com is a property of Zacks Investment Research, Inc., which was formed in 1978. The later formation of the Zacks Rank, a proprietary stock picking system; continues to outperform the market by nearly a 3 to 1 margin. The best way to unlock the profitable stock recommendations and market insights of Zacks Investment Research is through our free daily email newsletter; Profit from the Pros. In short, it's your steady flow of Profitable ideas GUARANTEED to be worth your time! Register for your free subscription to Profit from the Pros.
Follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/zacksresearch
Join us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/pages/Zacks-Investment-Research/57553657748?ref=ts
Zacks Investment Research is under common control with affiliated entities (including a broker-dealer and an investment adviser), which may engage in transactions involving the foregoing securities for the clients of such affiliates.
Zacks.com provides investment resources and informs you of these resources, which you may choose to use in making your own investment decisions. Zacks is providing information on this resource to you subject to the Zacks "Terms and Conditions of Service" disclaimer. www.zacks.com/disclaimer.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.