Two-thirds of the way into the earnings season, the U.S. has the most, Japan has the biggest, and technology is spurring them on.
Results that beat expectations, that is. This is what market strategists from JPMorgan to Barclays are highlighting to their clients:
• In the U.S., 77 percent of S&P 500 companies beat earnings-per-share (EPS) estimates, compared to 68 percent for Japan’s Topix and 57 percent for the Stoxx Europe 600, said JPMorgan.
• Japanese companies are posting the biggest earnings surprises, beating estimates by 15 percent vs. 5 percent for the U.S. and 3 percent for Europe. Korean, Hong Kong and Chinese companies are also showing upgrades, Credit Suisse said.
• For Credit Suisse, technology and health care are the standouts in the U.S. The energy sector has disappointed the most. In Europe, tech and telecoms have been the best performers with utilities, consumer goods and industrials lagging. Tech and financials lead earnings upgrades in Asia.
• Currencies are having a significant impact on second-quarter results and will probably be a key driver of EPS revisions for the second half, according to the JPMorgan strategists. The relative sales beats of U.S. vs. Europe are strongly correlated to the move in the euro-dollar, while the weaker yen provided a boost to Japanese earnings, they said.
• The strength of the common currency has pushed European earnings revisions into negative territory, according to Credit Suisse. Still, revisions remain above their long-term average and would need to fall “significantly below their norm” to become a drag on stocks, the analysts said.
• Most companies reported improved demand, largely driven by cyclical growth, according to an analysis of 110 earnings calls by Deutsche Bank. Of those, 55 percent were positive on growth and 23 percent negative. Many companies noted a pickup in Europe and Asia, while Latin America and the Middle East remain under pressure. Pricing power is mixed with wage pressures in focus, Deutsche Bank said.
• While 2017 earnings for the MSCI World Index were unchanged, 2018 estimates were revised down by 0.6 percent last week, according to Commerzbank.
Europe, the Middle East and Africa saw the strongest downgrades with a downward revision for 2018 of 3.2 percent, they said. In contrast, emerging market Asia was upgraded the most.