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Domestic earnings season is in full swing this morning, highlighted by results from Manulife Financial Corp., a warning from Tim Hortons Inc. and some nice growth out of Canadian Tire Corp. Ltd.. In all, 145 of 233 S&P/TSX Composite constituents have reported and it's time for a recap to see where we're at.
Aggregate results for TSX companies have generally disappointed relative to expectations. Revenue has come in 5.6 per cent below estimates while profits have missed by a similar 4.0 per cent.
In sector terms, materials, consumer goods, health care and the BlackBerry industry (a.k.a. technology) are responsible for the revenue shortfall. Insurance stocks, however, take most of the blame for year over year revenue declines, with sales 34 per cent below analyst expectations.
The energy sector – with 34 of 55 companies in the books – have missed profit forecasts by 14 per cent so far. Materials stock earnings have disappointed by 7.8 per cent and consumer goods by a similar amount. Utilities have done best, beating estimates by 13.7 per cent with six of 11 companies having posted results.
Investors should take note of sectors with the biggest changes in forward-looking earnings estimates. Sectors where estimates have been taken up sharply have momentum that often translates into higher stock prices. Industries where analysts have slashed forward estimates can become the most likely to beat forecasts in the quarters ahead.
The sector with the biggest increase in profit estimates is oil and gas, despite the fact that earnings in the current quarter have been disappointing. Materials, thanks to Potash Corp., have seen forecasts fall by 25 per cent for the third quarter.
Scott Barlow is a contributor to ROB Insight, the business commentary service available to Globe Unlimited subscribers. Click here to read more of his Insights , and follow Scott on Twitter at @SBarlow_ROB .