Markets & Finance

Vital Signs: Earnings Winners and Losers


On deck: leading indicators, home prices, home sales, durable goods orders, and a ton of earnings reports

The second-quarter earnings season kicks into high gear this week, with 159 S&P 500 companies set to report. By the end of the week, half of the S&P 500 will have posted their results, offering a good idea of how the winners and losers are stacking up. For now, with only a scant 33 companies having reported, Thomson Reuters says earnings are expected to be down 14.7%, which would be the fourth consecutive quarter of negative growth.

The expected sector breakdown isn’t hard to figure. Energy and technology, currently projected to show gains of 28% and 16%, respectively, will lead the winners. The biggest loser will be financials, expected to post a whopping 72% earnings decline, similar to their first-quarter losses. The consumer discretionary sector, is projected to be down 20%, led by lots of red ink from auto makers. Homebuilders will actually be something of a plus for the sector, in that their second-quarter losses are expected to be half the size of those in the second quarter of 2007.

The week will offer plenty of news relevant to both financial companies and homebuilders. Given that falling home prices lie at the heart of the current dysfunction in the credit markets, Wall Street will be watching the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight’s home price index for May for any sign that the drop in home prices is either slowing down or still picking up steam. The week also offers reports on sales of new and existing homes. Both have shown some signs of stabilizing in recent months, but inventories are still high, and mortgage rates have backed up, eating into affordability.

One interesting feature of second-quarter earnings is that profits outside of finance are expected to hold up surprisingly well. Thomson Reuters says analysts project earnings, excluding the financials sector, to be up 8.3%, and even further omitting a big boost from the energy sector, the projection is still 2.9%. That’s clearly a modest performance, but it’s far from the broad earnings plunge typically seen in a recession. Right now, earnings guidance from the S&P 500 companies shows a 1.9-to-1 ratio of negative to positive earnings pre-announcements. That’s below the 2.3-to-1 ratio this time last quarter, and it’s also less than the long-term average of 2.1-to-1.

The second half is shaping to be more challenging for companies outside finance. Unexpectedly high gasoline and fuel prices are robbing the buying power of consumer incomes and negating the stimulus from the tax rebates. Plus, the latest round of financial upheaval implies the credit crunch is getting worse, especially for would-be homebuyers. Despite the Fed’s rate cuts, fixed mortgage rates are up more than a half point since April. And growth overseas, a crucial prop under economic growth and profits, is showing clear signs of slowing. As the pace of earnings reports picks up this week and next, investors will be increasingly focused on guidance for the third quarter and full-year 2008.

Here’s the weekly economic calendar from Action Economics.

Top Economic Reports

Reports

Date

Time

For

Median Estimate

Last Period

Leading Indicators Index

Monday, July 21

10:00 a.m.

June

-0.1%

-0.1%

Existing Home Sales (millions)

Thursday, July 24

10:00 a.m.

June

4.930

4.909

Durable Goods Orders

Friday, July 25

8:30 a.m.

June

0.1%

0.1%

New Home Sales (millions)

Friday, July 25

10:00 a.m.

June

0.508

0.506

Consumer Sentiment Index (final)

Friday, July 25

9:55 a.m..

July

55.0

55.1

Other reports and events

Other Reports and Events

Date

Time

For

ICSC-UBS Store Sales

Tuesday, July 22

7:45 a.m.

July 13-19

Johnson Redbook Weekly Store Sales

Tuesday, July 22

8:55 a.m.

July 13-19

SPEECH: Philadelphia Fed President Plosser

Tuesday, July 22

8:30 a.m.

Richmond Fed Survey

Tuesday, July 22

10:00 a.m.

July

OFHEO House Price Index

Tuesday, July 22

10:00 a.m.

May

Mortgage Applications

Wednesday, July 23

7:00 a.m.

July 13-19

SPEECH: Fed Governor Mishkin

Wednesday, July 23

9:00 a.m.

SPEECH: Fed Vice Chairman Kohn

Wednesday, July 23

11:15 a.m.

Federal Reserve Beige Book Report

Wednesday, July 23

2:00 p.m.

Initial Unemployment Claims

Thursday, July 24

8:30 a.m.

July 13-19

Earnings Calendar

Company

Report Date

Weatherford International Ltd

Monday, July 21

Bank of America Corp

Monday, July 21

Texas Instruments Inc

Monday, July 21

Hercules Inc

Monday, July 21

QLogic Corp

Monday, July 21

Equifax Inc

Monday, July 21

Boston Scientific Corp

Monday, July 21

Apple Inc

Monday, July 21

Hasbro Inc

Monday, July 21

Schering-Plough Corp

Monday, July 21

Merck & Co Inc

Monday, July 21

SanDisk Corp

Monday, July 21

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Regions Financial Corp

Tuesday, July 22

Quest Diagnostics Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Baker Hughes Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Forest Laboratories Inc

Tuesday, July 22

UnitedHealth Group Inc

Tuesday, July 22

SunTrust Banks Inc

Tuesday, July 22

CME Group Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Biogen Idec Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc

Tuesday, July 22

EI Du Pont de Nemours & Co

Tuesday, July 22

Fifth Third Bancorp

Tuesday, July 22

Wachovia Corp

Tuesday, July 22

Tellabs Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Rockwell Automation Inc/DE

Tuesday, July 22

Western Union Co/The

Tuesday, July 22

Keycorp

Tuesday, July 22

Caterpillar Inc

Tuesday, July 22

United Parcel Service Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Avery Dennison Corp

Tuesday, July 22

AK Steel Holding Corp

Tuesday, July 22

CH Robinson Worldwide Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Nabors Industries Ltd

Tuesday, July 22

E*Trade Financial Corp

Tuesday, July 22

Sigma-Aldrich Corp

Tuesday, July 22

Broadcom Corp

Tuesday, July 22

Washington Mutual Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Norfolk Southern Corp

Tuesday, July 22

Pactiv Corp

Tuesday, July 22

Boston Properties Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Waters Corp

Tuesday, July 22

BJ Services Co

Tuesday, July 22

Halliburton Co

Tuesday, July 22

Lockheed Martin Corp

Tuesday, July 22

Linear Technology Corp

Tuesday, July 22

SUPERVALU Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Lexmark International Inc

Tuesday, July 22

XTO Energy Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Stanley Works/The

Tuesday, July 22

Intuitive Surgical Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Precision Castparts Corp

Tuesday, July 22

PACCAR Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Omnicom Group Inc

Tuesday, July 22

Yahoo! Inc

Tuesday, July 22

PepsiCo Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Ryder System Inc

Wednesday, July 23

New York Times Co/The

Wednesday, July 23

Sovereign Bancorp Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Travelers Cos Inc/The

Wednesday, July 23

McDonald's Corp

Wednesday, July 23

Praxair Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Whirlpool Corp

Wednesday, July 23

WellPoint Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Dover Corp

Wednesday, July 23

Philip Morris International Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Wyeth

Wednesday, July 23

Boeing Co

Wednesday, July 23

AT&T Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Unisys Corp

Wednesday, July 23

ConocoPhillips

Wednesday, July 23

Air Products & Chemicals Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Robert Half International Inc

Wednesday, July 23

McKesson Corp

Wednesday, July 23

QUALCOMM Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Teradyne Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Noble Corp

Wednesday, July 23

CR Bard Inc

Wednesday, July 23

Allstate Corp/The

Wednesday, July 23


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