The ‘Magnificent Seven‘ cohort of stocks, a crucial engine of the recent market rally, find themselves under the microscope with investors keen to evaluate their earnings reports. On the other hand, the banking sector, which dealt with high-profile failures at the beginning of the year, might leverage this earnings season to stage a comeback.
Familiar macroeconomic challenges linger in the backdrop. Inflation, which peaked at a daunting 9% last June, has been tamed and is now closer to the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. However, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) still at 4.05%, it’s far from a comfortable scenario. The Fed, despite signaling a continuation of its hawkish policy with potential rate hikes later in the year, has adopted a more measured approach as they paused rate hikes to assess the economic implications of their previous 10 consecutive increases. The persistent threat of a recession will likely continue to influence corporate earnings and forward guidance alike.
This looming earnings season will undoubtedly play a critical role in determining the market’s course for the rest of the year. With this in mind, investors should prioritize diligent market monitoring, thorough due diligence, and acute attention to each company’s financial reports as we embark on this Q2 earnings bonanza.
“Earnings Season”: the months of the year during which most publicly-traded companies release quarterly financial results & earnings reports, notably earnings-per-share (EPS) and revenue, usually in January, April, July, and October.
Whether you’re a buy-and-hold investor or one who likes to “trade earnings”, knowing the top names to watch this earnings season can help inform your approach for the quarter and beyond. Whichever you are, our Earnings Season Playbook provides a thorough refresher before the onslaught of new information that earnings season brings.
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The same reports from Q1 earnings season can also be used to identify names at the bottom of the barrel. Last quarter, 19 companies from both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 reported EPS figures that were 25% or more below estimates. If these were isolated performance lapses, could these names be poised to surprise the street this earnings season?
To keep you organized this earnings season, this calendar below provides scheduled reporting dates for the 50 largest U.S. companies. A similar earnings calendar can also be created in YCharts for all stocks, or constituents of specific indices.
However, As of Q4 2022, the most recent data available, the composite EPS had retreated to a level 26.6% below its previous peak. Marketwide earnings dropped between Q3 and Q4, yet the forecasts for Q1 project a substantial recovery, with earnings expected to bounce back by 22.2% quarter-over-quarter. Given the remarkable rebound observed last quarter, the S&P 500’s earnings are currently anticipated to revisit their previous high by Q3 2023 – a full quarter ahead of prior earnings season projections.
The S&P 500’s recent rally has nudged its valuation upwards. By the close of Q4 2022, the S&P 500 Price-to-Earnings (P/E) ratio stood at 22.23, reflecting a 16% surge from the preceding quarter and just falling short of its historical average of 24.3 by a mere 8.5%. So now market-watchers are left wondering if corporate earnings can validate this accelerated price trend.
Projections indicate that the S&P 500 Forward P/E is poised to eclipse its average during the initial two quarters of 2023. This scenario implies two potential outcomes: sustained high stock prices against steady or slower-growing earnings expectations, or a string of underwhelming earnings reports even as prices hold. The real question, then, is whether the S&P 500’s earnings will sustain its strength into Q2.
To find companies that have beat analyst expectations over consecutive quarters, use Timeseries Analysis to quickly compile and align data like EPS Surprise, Forward EPS Estimates, and Actual EPS. Because companies report financial results on different days throughout earnings season, format unlike data by clicking “Frequency” then select “Market Quarterly” to align all EPS data to the standard quarter-ends.
Armed with properly formatted data, click “Export” then either “Export Data” or “Export to Excel Add-in” (if using the YCharts Excel Add-in, the spreadsheet will be linked to YCharts and automatically update when new data becomes available). From here, you can layer additional formulas to identify which names have a streak of beating expectations.
If you spot a company of interest, use the Earnings Chart Quickflow to dig deeper by visualizing the company’s historical EPS beat and miss trends—and how the share price has responded. The Quickflows Menu is accessed via the blue tab on the right-hand side of YCharts.
Find companies with the biggest earnings beats and misses
Use the Stock Screener to find companies with a positive Earnings Surprise and compare their data side-by-side. In the Stock Screener, add either a broad market index, like the S&P 500, or a more targeted list, such as your portfolio holdings, by clicking “Modify” and toggling between the “Equities” and “My Lists” menus. Then click “Add Filter” and type to search for “EPS Surprise” or related metrics, and set a range or equation for its value.
Click the screen’s name in the upper left corner to save, and distribute to colleagues by clicking “Share” in the upper right corner.
Create a custom earnings season calendar
Click “Data” in the top navigation bar, then “Events Calendar”. From here, a stock earnings calendar can be created by unchecking all Event types except “Earnings”. In the upper left corner, click “Select a List” to filter the calendar by stock style, index, sector, and more.