The Q1 earnings season started this week with mostly US financials on the menu and next week promises around 90 earnings releases before the big show starts in 10 days with technology earnings.
Most companies in the S&P 500 reporting this week have beat on both revenue and earnings, with only Delta Air Lines as the real disappointment missing on both revenue and earnings. The initial reaction has been mixed with most reactions to banking earnings being negative as earnings beats have been driven by loan loss releases (reserves set aside for future losses not needed) which goes back into earnings. One of the key reasons US equities are higher this week is likely due to yesterday’s strong economic data and lower interest rates boosting sentiment. So while the earnings season looks good at the surface the reaction to it has been more mixed.
In Europe earnings releases have so far also been mixed but with heavyweights such as SAP and ABB lifting guidance. Forward estimates on earnings are up 10-11% this year across STOXX 600, S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 with Europe trailing a bit despite European equities should have higher beta to the global economic rebound through more index weight in cyclical stocks. The theme over the past two quarters have been that of earnings rebounding faster in the MSCI World Index compared to S&P 500 suggesting earnings outside the US have rebounded faster. Whether this trend continues and whether the rest of the equity market can close the earnings growth gap to Nasdaq 100 will be key observations to monitor.