Investors are speculating about whether Monday’s big stock surge is the start of a recovery or another pause in the market’s decline, and the answer may depend in part on upcoming quarterly results from heavyweights including Tesla Inc, Johnson & Johnson and Netflix Inc.
The world’s most widely tracked stock benchmark jumped 2.65% on Monday, lifted in part by strong quarterly results from Bank of America, even as investors worry that the U.S. Federal Reserve’s war against inflation may hobble the economy.
Expectations are low for the September-quarter earnings season that’s now underway, suggesting potential upside for shares of companies that do come in ahead of analysts’ estimates, while raising risks for companies that fail to meet even modest expectations.
“This week and next week are just crucial and full of earnings,” said Peter Tuz, President of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Monday’s major rally on Wall Street was just the latest in an unusually volatile year. The S&P 500 has recorded daily gains or losses of more than 2% 39 times so far in 2022, compared to seven times last year and 44 times in all of 2020.
Shares of Tesla jumped 7%, with the electric vehicle maker’s report late on Wednesday set to be one of this week’s main attractions.
Wall Street’s most heavily traded stock, Tesla has tumbled over 17% since Oct. 2, when it disclosed third-quarter vehicle deliveries that missed estimates as logistical challenges overshadowed its record deliveries. However, analysts still expect Chief Executive Elon Musk to deliver a 60% jump in quarterly revenue and a 48% surge in “adjusted” earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.
Analysts worried about a deteriorating global economy have slashed their quarterly earnings outlooks. They now on average expect S&P 500 September quarter earnings per share to have increased 3.0% year/year, down from a consensus estimate of over 11% in July, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.
With the S&P 500 down 23% so far in 2022, the index’s forward earnings valuation has dropped to 17, marginally below its 10 year average, according to Refinitiv data.
Netflix reports on Tuesday, with analysts expecting revenue to grow just 5% year/year, its lowest quarterly increase ever, according to Refinitiv. Netflix’s stock on Monday jumped over 6%, leaving it with a loss of about 59% in 2022.
Other major companies reporting their results this week include Lockheed Martin on Tuesday, Procter & Gamble on Wednesday and AT&T on Thursday.
Many investors warn that expectations the Fed will continue its aggressive interest rate hikes will limit the amount of optimism generated by a potentially strong quarterly earnings season.
“Right now the Fed owns the market,” said Emily Roland, Co-Chief Investment Strategist at John Hancock Investment Management in Boston. “Sentiment is extremely bearish. You want to be careful here.”
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