Earnings Watch, US economy, and earnings estimates Earnings Watch, US economy, and earnings estimates Earnings Watch, US economy, and earnings estimates

Earnings Watch, US economy, and earnings estimates

PG
Peter Garnry

Head of Equity Strategy

Summary:  Salesforce reports Q1 earnings on Wednesday with analysts expecting 10% revenue growth and significant increase in EBITDA compared to a year ago. Broad economic figures published yesterday suggest the US economy is still growing robustly supporting the view that unless we get a crisis moment the economy will not warrant the Fed to cut rates this year. Finally, earnings estimates continue to rise in both the US and Europe suggesting the equity market is not betting on a hard landing or crisis this year.


Key points in this equity note:

  • Salesforce is the key earnings release to watch next week scheduled to report Wednesday after the US market close. Analysts are expecting a significant increase in EBITDA.

  • Economic data published yesterday suggest the US economy is still growing around trend growth up until end of April supporting the idea that the Fed will likely not cut the policy rate this year.

  • Earnings estimates in the US and Europe continue to increase as the equity market continues to price a soft contraction in real terms and still significant nominal GDP growth.

Earnings releases are taking a backseat

The Q1 earnings season is over and the earnings calendar is getting thinner. Next week the most important earnings release is Salesforce reporting FY24 Q1 (ending 30 Apr) earnings on Wednesday after the close with analysts expecting revenue of $8.2bn up 10.3% y/y and EBITDA of $3bn up from $1.2bn a year ago as the cost cutting initiatives are expected to significantly lift profitability for the business software application maker. Salesforce’s revenue growth is coming as technology spending is slowing as we have seen for all companies related to technology spending including Snowflake the other. However, the focus for investors and management is shifting away from 20% revenue growth towards free cash flow generation and it is our expectation that Salesforce is now on a path to significantly higher profitability over the next five years. Salesforce shares are up 58% this year responding to management’s focus on profitability.

Salesforce share price | Source: Saxo

The list below shows the most important earnings releases next week:

  • Tuesday: HP, HP Enterprise
  • Wednesday: Salesforce, Crowdstrike, Okta
  • Thursday: Broadcom, VMware, Lululemon Athletica, Dell Technologies, MongoDB, Zscaler, Dollar General, Hormel Foods

The US economy rebounds in April

The US banking crisis earlier this year set in motion an expectation of tighter financial conditions and increased the market’s assessed probability of a recession leading to the market suddenly pricing in three rate cuts by the end of the year. We continued to argue that economic growth and labour market were strong enough and that investors were making the mistake again about expecting lower inflation and rate prematurely. Financial conditions have done nothing but easing since the US banking crisis started in US regional banks and are now as easy as during early February.

Chicago Fed National Activity Index figures for April showed yesterday that the US economy rebounded in April to levels above long-term trend growth while the 3-month average is still suggesting slightly below trend growth, but still comfortably above the recession threshold (orange line in the chart). In addition, initial jobless claims and job openings in the US labour market continue to paint a picture of a tight labour market favourable for wage growth and thus mitigating some of the negative effects from inflation.

While many fixed-income indicators can be used to project a recession the equity market is still quite calm about these prospects expecting just a mild real GDP contraction with nominal GDP growth continuing at 5% lifting revenue and earnings for companies.

Nvidia share price | Source: Saxo

Earnings estimates are only gone up since Q1 earnings season started

The positive outlook and robust economic activity levels are also evident in 12-month forward earnings estimates for the S&P 500 and STOXX 600 indices up 0.4% and 2.5% respectively this year jumping much higher since Q1 earnings began rolling out. While US equities have lately been trading sideways there is a growing risk of equities come a bit under pressure should the Fed communicate that the policy rate needs to be set higher to effectively lower economic growth to constrain inflation.

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