S&P Companies’ Q2 Guidance Paints Gloomy Picture

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Investors who keep a close eye on the S&P 500 may have noticed a negative trend ahead of second-quarter earnings season. CNBC’s Alex Rosenberg reports that their compilation of the data indicates that 81 percent of the guidance given by S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) companies for the second quarter of the year has been negative.

S&P Companies’ Q2 Guidance Paints Gloomy Picture

History Of S&P 500 Guidance

Rosenberg says an average of 62 percent of companies which have issued guidance for earnings per share over the last five years guided below the mean earnings per share estimate. According to FactSet, second-quarter guidance for 86 of the 106 companies which are listed on the S&P was below the mean. This means that more than 80 percent of the guidance received for S&P companies has been negative.

FactSet senior earnings analyst John Butters told CNBC that the second quarter of the year is the quarter with the greatest percentage of negative pre-announcements since that started tracking the information in 2006. In addition, he pointed out that the percentage of negative guidance will probably change soon as companies adjust their numbers.

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Analysts Slash Expectations For Q2

Analysts have dramatically cut back their expectations for earnings per share growth over the current quarter. Previously they were projecting 4.4 percent growth in earnings per share for the S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX), but now they’re looking for only 1.3 percent growth among the companies for the current quarter. The greatest cut in earnings per share estimates was in the battered materials sector, in which analysts slashed their expectations from 9.4 percent growth to a 3 percent decline.

Thankfully it isn’t all bad news that’s expected for the current quarter. Analysts have raised their expectations in the financial sector, so they’re now predicting a 17.1 percent growth there.

Comparing The Current Quarter With Q2

The Goldman Sachs Beige Book looked at the transcripts from S&P companies’ first-quarter earnings reports. Last quarter, analysts were seeing low inflation paired with stronger pricing support margins. They also saw structural promise although global growth faced challenges. In addition, the impact of the payroll tax and the sequester on the markets was mixed.