Wall Street’s stock market gurus have been warning us to brace for turbulence as companies announce their Q3 financial results.
This is a big deal because earnings are the most important drivers of stock prices.
“For Q3 2015, the blended earnings decline is -5.5%,” FactSet’s John Butters said on Friday. “If the index reports a decline in earnings for Q3, it will mark the first back-to-back quarters of earnings declines since 2009.”
In other words, the last time we had consecutive quarters of negative earnings growth, the US economy was in recession.
So, it’s particularly unnerving to see that we may be in the middle of a third consecutive quarter of negative earnings growth.
“This past week marked a change in the aggregate expectations of analysts from flat year-over-year earnings (0%) for Q4 2015 to a decline in year-over-year earnings for Q4 2015,” Butters observed. “Today, it stands at -0.4%.“
Keep in mind, these are expectations for earnings growth. And, according to Morgan Stanley’s Adam Parker, the trend in earnings revisions has been negative since 1976, a period of time when stocks have trended higher.
Furthermore, those same analysts are expecting a snap back to growth in Q1 2016.
“[I]t is interesting to note that analysts in aggregate do expect earnings growth to return for all quarters in 2016,” Butters added.