As of last week, the majority of companies that reported earnings have beaten estimates, making this earnings season one of the best since 2011. This according to an article in last week’s Barron’s.
The upbeat results, in many cases, apply to both the top and bottom lines, the article says, with much of the outperformance “driven by the big year-over-year jump in energy prices…as well as rising interest rates.”
While first-quarter earnings are set to expand 11.4% from a year ago, the article suggests that “a closer look reveals why investors may want to curb their enthusiasm.” Wall Street analysts, it argues, typically lower expectations to “pave the way” for companies to beat them. At the start of 2017, it says, analysts were expecting first-quarter profit growth of 13.8%, down from as high as 18% about a year ago.
There is cause for optimism, however. David Aurelio, an earnings analyst at Thomson Reuters, points to several “bright spots,” the article says, such as robust revenue expansion, potential tax cuts under the new administration, and growth in certain sectors (such as technology).