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Fundamentally Speaking: Earnings Growth Much Weaker Than Advertised

Summary:
With analysts once again hoping for a surge in earnings in the months ahead, along with an economic revival, it is worth noting this has always been the case. Currently, there are few, if any, Wall Street analysts expecting a recession currently, and many are certain of a forthcoming economic growth cycle. Yet, at this time, there are few catalysts supportive of such a resurgence. The Fed isn’t hiking rates, but they aren’t reducing them either. The Fed isn’t reducing their balance sheet any more after September, but they aren’t increasing it either. Economic growth outside of China remains weak Employment growth is going to slow. There is no massive disaster currently to spur a surge in government spending and reconstruction. There isn’t another stimulus package like tax cuts to fuel a

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With analysts once again hoping for a surge in earnings in the months ahead, along with an economic revival, it is worth noting this has always been the case. Currently, there are few, if any, Wall Street analysts expecting a recession currently, and many are certain of a forthcoming economic growth cycle. Yet, at this time, there are few catalysts supportive of such a resurgence.

  • The Fed isn’t hiking rates, but they aren’t reducing them either.
  • The Fed isn’t reducing their balance sheet any more after September, but they aren’t increasing it either.
  • Economic growth outside of China remains weak
  • Employment growth is going to slow.
  • There is no massive disaster currently to spur a surge in government spending and reconstruction.
  • There isn’t another stimulus package like tax cuts to fuel a boost in corporate earnings
  • With the deficit already pushing $1 Trillion, there will only be an incremental boost from additional deficit spending this year. 
  • Unfortunately, it is also just a function of time until a recession occurs.

As I stated in Q2 of 2018:

“The deterioration in earnings is something worth watching closely. While earnings have improved in the recent quarter, due to the benefit of tax cuts, it is likely transient given the late stage of the current economic cycle, continued strength in the dollar and potentially weaker commodity prices in the future. Wall Street is notorious for missing the major turning of the markets and leaving investors scrambling for the exits.

Of course, no one on Wall Street told you to be wary of the markets in 2018. While we did, it largely fell on deaf ears.

This time will likely be no different.

Lance Roberts
Lance Roberts has sharpened that lens with 30 years in the investing world from private banking and investment management to private and venture capital. Lance Roberts’ perspective and common sense analysis is sought after by media outlets such as Fox 26 News in Houston, CNBC, CNN and Fox Business News along with numerous publications including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Reuters and the Washington Post. Roberts is the Editor of the X-Factor report and publishes the blog Daily X-change.

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