Lower prices for crude oil and natural gas will lead to a more than 30% decline in earnings for the energy sector in Q4. In contrast, the S&P 500 is expected to see a 1.4% drop in earnings. However, these numbers are somewhat skewed by the 7 largest, mega cap tech stocks which have seen a 53.7% increase in earnings. Subtracting these stocks from the S&P 500 reveals earnings decline of 10.5% for the index.
Overall, energy will see the biggest decline in earnings among all sectors. The weakness was recently highlighted by top-line misses for Exxon Mobil and Chevron. The biggest losses are expected in Oil & Gas Refining and Marketing with a 63% contraction in earnings, followed by Integrated Oil & Gas at -34%, and Oil & Gas Exploration & Production with a 20% drop. On the other side, Oil & Gas Equipment & Services and Oil & gas Storage & Transportation, both saw earnings growth.
Many producers are dealing with a bearish outlook for oil and gas prices due to weaker demand from Europe and China despite elevated geopolitical risks. At the same time, these producers are dealing with higher costs due to inflation, creating incentives to increase revenue by adding production.
Finsum: As Q4 earnings season enters its later stages, it’s clear that the energy sector will see the biggest decline in earnings. Here are some of the major factors behind the drop.