Good News is Bad News
Even before last week’s news was moving stocks lower (only in this case), it was good news. According to FactSet, 91% of S&P 500 companies already reported that this is shaping up to be one of the best earnings reporting period for the record books. Hence, 10 out of 11 sectors have posted revenue gains well ahead of consensus coming into this earnings period (June 30, 2017).
Overall, 69% of S&P 500 companies posted revenue ahead of consensus, which is well above the five-year average of 56% and the best quarter since 4Q11 (72%).
Earnings per share were even more impressive with 73% beating the Street. The 10.2% blended-rate of growth is significantly higher than the 6.4% modeled by the Street.
Herein lies the rub – overall, stocks sold off on earnings beats for the worst reaction to positive earnings news since the second quarter of 2011. Despite the average earnings beat 6.1% above consensus, the average four-day reaction was -0.3%. So, it was not your imagination – good news was bad news, and few stocks were spared.
There’s a negative bias in the market, in part to the longevity of the Bull Run, higher valuation, and growing angst associated with rallies. There has been very little volatility since coming off the bottom in 2009, which was a reason why many folks did not buy into this market and they were wrong.
The one thing to remember here is that ultimately, fundamentals matter most and prevail when the dust settles. Be careful of the herd mentality and overreactions; know that taking losses are part of the experience. Last week, there was no place to hide on the equity side other than utility names. As bond yields slide, the three-decade rally continues to get new life as a haven.
This week, there are only 18 S&P 500 company names reporting financials, although three Dow components will weigh in as well.
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