Corporate earnings are also referred to as “company earnings” and “corporate profits:” basically, the amount of money a company makes in certain period of time. The price/earnings multiple is still the most common tool used to value a company. The stock market values a company based on the amount of money—the earnings and profits—the company has after all expenses, including taxes, have been paid. In a stock market where stocks are traded at an average of 12 times earnings, a company making $1.00 a share per year would be valued at $12.00. All things being equal, the more money a public company makes, the higher its stock price.
Here, I present five indicators that point to high risk for key stock indices.
Optimism continues to increase. There’s a general consensus among stock advisors and investors that the key stock indices will continue to go higher. Take the Sentiment Survey by the American Association of Individual Investors, for example. As of November 14, 39.20% of all respondents said they were bullish. In late June, this number stood at 30.28%. Investors who are bearish on key stock indices dropped to 27.47% from 35.17% in June. (Source: American Association of Individual Investors web site, last accessed November 20, 2013.)
History has repeatedly shown us that when the optimism increases and reaches the level of euphoria, key stock indices have turned the opposite way. The examples of this are many.
Corporate earnings are in trouble. Companies are posting lower revenues but reporting higher per-share corporate earnings, beating estimates as they cut costs, reduce their labor forces, and continue on their record stock buyback programs. This “financial maneuvering” cannot go on indefinitely.
And the outlook for corporate earnings continues to deteriorate. Just look at the chart below of estimates of corporate earnings per share of S&P 500 companies in the fourth quarter. You will notice there’s a very clear trend: the estimates continue to decline. Meanwhile, despite corporate earnings estimates falling, the S&P 500 has soared even higher.
Companies are warning about their corporate earnings … Read More
Can you believe the mainstream headlines these days? I’m reading about the Dow Jones Industrial Average going to 19,000… I’m reading that stocks are rising because the amount of stocks for investors to buy has diminished…
It’s all rubbish!
The chart below of the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking above 16,000 makes it look like people just woke up the morning of November 18 and said, “I need to rush out and buy stocks today!”
In my opinion, we are looking at the biggest bear market trap we’ve ever seen. The year 2008 is a distant memory. The notion of fear of “missing out” is back.
Investors are pouring billions into stocks…
Chart courtesy of www.StockCharts.com
According to the Investment Company Institute, long-term U.S. equity mutual funds had a net inflow of $5.4 billion for the week ended November 6. In the prior week, which ended on October 30, investors bought $4.2 billion worth of long-term U.S. equity mutual funds. (Source: Investment Company Institute, November 13, 2013.)
As investors are pouring back into stocks, the fundamentals that drive the key stock indices are dissipating. Each day, we hear weak economic news, which suggests key stock indices are moving beyond reality. And the disparity between the performance of key stock indices and the most basic fundamentals continues to grow.
Corporate earnings of companies in key stock indices are very weak. The corporate earnings “surprise” rate (this is the rate that shows how much higher or lower corporate earnings were registered) came in at 1.8% in the third quarter—far below the four-year average of 6.5%.
S&P 500 companies posted an increase in … Read More
Thus far, 460 companies on the S&P 500 have reported their corporate earnings for the third quarter of 2013. The average increase in earnings per share for these companies in the third quarter compared to the same quarter of last year was 3.5%. (Source: FactSet, November 8, 2013.)
My bet is that if you take out the record number of stock buyback programs the S&P 500 companies have announced this year, earnings for the third quarter of 2013 were flat. (I have my research staff working on these numbers, and I will be able to quantify this for my readers in the next few days.)
Yes, per-share earnings of the S&P 500 (before stock buybacks) are flat year-over-year, but the S&P 500 is up 30% over the same period. How can that make sense?
Well, S&P 500 corporate earnings are not even the most disturbing part…
Only a little more than half of the S&P 500 companies (52% to be exact) were able to beat their revenues estimates—a trend that has become common over the past few quarters, where per-share earnings rise but revenues remain flat.
A few of the biggest names on key stock indices have actually reported a decline in revenue. For the three months ended on September 30, News Corporation (NASDAQ/NWSA) reported a three-percent decline in its revenue from the same period a year ago, with revenues falling to $2.07 billion compared to $2.13 billion in the same quarter in 2012. (Source: News Corporation, November 11, 2013.)
And, of course, we have companies continuing to buy back their stock to boost per-share earnings. … Read More
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects the global economy to increase by 2.9% this year and 3.6% in 2014—forecasts which I believe are too optimistic. Why?
First of all, we have the Japanese economy, the third-biggest in the global economy, suffering an economic slowdown. Tertiary industry activity (activity in the service businesses) slowed in September from a month ago. (Source: Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, November 12, 2013.)
Then there’s Germany, the fourth-biggest economy in the global economy. Once believed to be immune to the economic slowdown in the eurozone, seasonally adjusted manufacturing output in the country declined 0.8% in September from August. As of September, year-to-date manufacturing output in the German economy has increased only 1.2%—a much slower growth rate than in the same period of 2012. (Source: Destatis, November 8, 2013.)
Earlier this month, in a statement about its monetary policy decision, the central bank of Australia said, “In Australia, the economy has been growing a bit below trend over the past year and the unemployment rate has edged higher. This is likely to persist in the near term… Public spending is forecast to be quite weak.” (Source: “Statement by Glenn Stevens, Governor: Monetary Policy Decision,” Reserve Bank of Australia, November 5, 2013.)
To fight the economic slowdown in the country, the Reserve Bank of Australia is using easy monetary policy measures. The central bank has reduced its benchmark interest rate in the country by more than 40% since the beginning of 2012. The cash rate, the overnight money market interest rate, sits at 2.50% compared to 4.25% in early 2012. (Source: Reserve Bank of Australia … Read More
The news headlines are saying the U.S. housing market is witnessing robust growth and flipping homes for profit is back.
While many are now saying there is growth in the U.S. housing market and that it will continue, I disagree with them, based on many different factors…all of which I want my readers to know about.
Yes, home prices have gone up, but that’s about it for positive developments. The housing market still suffers, and there are problems that need to be fixed before it sees a full-on recovery.
The delinquency rate on single-family residential mortgages in the U.S. remains staggeringly high. In the second quarter of this year, it was 9.41%. Yes, again; it has declined from its peak of 11.27% in the first quarter of 2010, but it’s still almost 140% higher than its historical average of 3.94%! (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed November 8, 2013.)
As I have been harping on about in these pages; institutional investors jumped into the U.S. housing market buying residential homes in bulk, and as a result, prices increased. But we didn’t see first-time home buyers run towards the housing market—an increase in first-time home buyers is essential for any economic recovery.
According to the National Association of Realtors, in September, first-time home buyers accounted for 28% of all existing home sales in the U.S. Meanwhile, investors were behind one-third of all existing home sales! (Source: National Association of Realtors, October 21, 2013.)
The “U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook” report issued in October by the Office of the Chief Economist at Freddie Mac said, “According … Read More
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