Third quarter earnings season is about to kick into full swing, and analysts are forecasting the first year over year earnings growth decline for the S&P 500 Index since the third quarter of 2009, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.
Nonetheless, Pepsi started off the season strong with an earnings beat and raised guidance, and of the 20 companies that have reported their third quarter earnings so far, 16 of them have beat estimates, three have missed, and one has met. We look forward to Yum! Brands’ earnings report after closing bell.
S&P 500 earnings to fall 5%
According to Lindsey Bell, senior analyst at S&P Capital IQ, Wall Street is forecasting aggregate third quarter earnings of $28.55 per share for the S&P 500. That would be a 5% year over year decline. Six of the ten sectors in the benchmark index are expected to show positive growth in earnings for the third quarter. The Consumer Discretionary, Telecommunications, and Healthcare sectors are expected to lead the way in earnings per share growth.
Here’s a look at current forecasts for earnings per share growth by sector:
Energy sector still a weight on S&P 500
Unsurprisingly, the Energy Sector Index is expected to be the hardest hit with a decline of 65.85%. The Energy sector has been battling tumbling oil prices for the last several quarters, and it doesn’t look like that will be changing soon. Excluding the drag from the Energy sector, earnings per share growth in the S&P 500 would be projected at 3%.
Another problem that has been plaguing all of the sectors is the stronger U.S. dollar. Looking at valuation, Bell says the S&P 500 is trading at a multiple of 16.2 times forward 12-month price to earnings ratio. This is just slightly ahead of the 15-year average of 16 times.
Energy sector expected to improve
Looking ahead to the next three quarters, it looks like analysts are expecting the problems weighing on the Energy sector to abate, as projections for the first and second quarters of 2016 both show improvements in the expected declines:
In fact, Bell says by the end of 2016, the Energy sector should be straightened out and start posting earnings growth.
Here’s a look at how the current earnings projections for the sectors of the S&P 500 are shaping up:
Revenue growth stalling across three sectors
According to Bell, analysts are also expecting revenue to decline in the Energy, Materials and Utilities sectors. These three sectors, especially Energy, are expected to weight so heavily on revenue for the entire S&P 500 that it’s expected to post a decline in overall revenue:
If the projections are correct, then this would mark the first decline in revenue across the index since before 2013:
All charts/ graphs in this article are courtesy S&P Capital IQ.