Wednesday, May 18, 2016

17/5/16: US Earnings Recession: Four Quarters Long... but How Much Longer?

Recently, I have been highlighting in my Risk & Resilience course for MBAs at MIIS and on this blog the perils of corporate earnings gaming, including the rather worrying trend toward companies posting negative net cash flows (basically using debt to fund shares repurchases).

Here are two of my lecture slides from two weeks ago:

And to add to the pile of evidence, as 1Q 16 earnings rolled in, the numbers were coming in at a frankly put brutal squeeze: we had the fourth consecutive quarter for the S&P 500 earnings running in the red, with 1Q 16 decline being the steepest since 2008-2009 at 6.3%:

However, some interesting insight on the matter of forward earnings guidance was recently published by the Deutsche Bank Research and here is a link to the article discussing it:

Yes, DB's model for earnings for S&P500 is an interesting one. No, without seeing actual standard econometric tests, I can't tell if it makes any sense in reality or not (just because it has high R-sq means diddly nada without knowing how the residuals behave). And no, I am not sure I am buying the idea of 'all factors in favour' arguments presented by DB Research. I am, however, pretty certain that probabilistically a bet should be for more moderate earnings performance in 2Q compared to 1Q, which of course will prompt DB Research lads cheering confirmation of their own model. So I am skeptical, but... still, the article is worth a read.

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