Displaying items by tag: earnings
With the calendar flipping to 2021, the big question on everyone’s mind is what 2021 will hold. 2020 was an exceptionally wild, and ultimately very profitable, year for investors. And within the final few months of 2020 was a developing buy signal that rarely occurs. That signal was the constant revision of earnings estimates in an upward direction. Remember that analysts’ earnings estimates are very frequently revised just before earnings are released, and the large majority of the time those revisions are towards the downside. However, in nearly every week of Q4, revisions moved estimates higher. According to Jefferies, “We’d argue that this is one of the most important tailwinds for equities, as earnings revisions are rarely positive”.
FINSUM: Revising earnings upwards breaks almost all rules of the equity research game, so when it happens it is quite notable. This suggests some strongly positive momentum for the economy.
The market has been doing very well since October 30th, up around 9%. Goldman thinks even bigger gains are coming for the S&P 500. The bank has been encouraged by investors’ response after the election and thinks that the vaccine is really in the driver’s seat. The bank’s research team has significantly upgraded their earnings forecasts for next year and 2022 based on the better-than-expected recovery. According to Barron’s, a few assumptions underpin Goldman’s outlook, “at least one vaccine becoming widely available in the U.S., less drastic changes in policy because Congress is most likely to be divided, and the continued V-shaped economic recovery”. Goldman’s official forecast for the S&P 500 at the end of 2022 is 4,300 and a 20% gain from now through the end of 2021.
FINSUM: The “continued v-shaped recovery” is the most volatile aspect of these assumptions, but they also discounted a potentially positive one—another stimulus package. The forecast seems reasonable.
Goldman Sachs is making their position clear. The bank thinks that after all the volatility we have seen, the worst is behind us and stocks have already hit bottom. Goldman says that because of the Fed’s “do whatever it takes” attitude, it is unlikely the market will fall further. “The Fed and Congress have precluded the prospect of a complete economic collapse … These policy actions mean our previous near-term downside of 2,000 is no longer likely” for the S&P 500 Index, according to the bank’s strategists.
FINSUM: We are of two minds on this. On the one hand, Goldman makes a good point about the Fed propping up markets. On the other, there is a liquidity-induced real estate crisis brewing and the true ramifications of this downturn (including its expression in S&P 500 earnings) will not be felt for a few months.
Right now there is a big problem in earnings forecasts. UBS points out that many Wall Street analysts have been very slow to update their earnings estimates in the growing coronavirus lockdown. As such, the current spread between estimates and what actual earnings are likely to be is very wide. This often happens in crises, as analysts await more info and data before updating estimates, but it also generally means there is a much greater chance for volatility as earnings releases approach.
FINSUM: We expect that as Q1 earnings reporting approaches in the next few weeks, there will be some big attention-grabbing downward revisions, which could bring on additional bouts of downside-oriented volatility.
Morgan Stanley’s earnings this week were an absolute blow out for the Street. The bank beat all expectations and performed exceptionally well. For us, the earnings really feel like a salute to the whole wealth management industry, as it was Morgan Stanley’s pivot to focus more on that business that has made it the reliable earnings machine that it has become. Revenue from wealth management accounted for around 40% of the whole bank’s revenues, and was up 11% on the year.
FINSUM: Wealth management is a rock solid and capital light business, and MS’ earnings are a testament to that. Gorman’s choice to focus on this segment of their business a few years ago was a very smart one.