Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Investing in a Bubble Mania Stock Market Trending Towards Financial Crisis 2.0 CRASH! - 9th Sep 21
2.Tech Stocks Bubble Valuations 2000 vs 2021 - 25th Sep 21
3.Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
4.Stock Market FOMO Hits September Brick Wall - Evergrande China's Lehman's Moment - 22nd Sep 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
7.AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
8.Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
9.Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
10.Global Stock Markets Topped 60 Days Before the US Stocks Peaked - 23rd Sep 21
Last 7 days
VR and Gaming Becomes the Metaverse - 7th Dec 21
How to Read Your Smart Meter - Economy 7, Day and Night Rate Readings SMETS2 EDF - 7th Dec 21
For Profit or for Loss: 4 Tips for Selling ASX Shares - 7th Dec 21
INTEL Bargain Teck Stocks Trading at 15.5% Discount Sale - 7th Dec 21
US Bonds Yield Curve is not currently an inflationist’s friend - 7th Dec 21
Omicron COVID Variant-Possible Strong Stock Market INDU & TRAN Rally - 7th Dec 21
The New Tech That Could Take Tesla To $2 Trillion - 7th Dec 21
S&P 500 – Is a 5% Correction Enough? - 6th Dec 21
Global Stock Markets It’s Do-Or-Die Time - 6th Dec 21
Hawks Triumph, Doves Lose, Gold Bulls Cry! - 6th Dec 21
How Stock Investors Can Cash in on President Biden’s new Climate Plan - 6th Dec 21
The Lithium Tech That Could Send The EV Boom Into Overdrive - 6th Dec 21
How Stagflation Effects Stocks - 5th Dec 21
Bitcoin FLASH CRASH! Cryptos Blood Bath as Exchanges Run Stops, An Early Christmas Present for Some? - 5th Dec 21
TESCO Pre Omicron Panic Christmas Decorations Festive Shop 2021 - 5th Dec 21
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Into Mid 2022 - 4th Dec 21
INVESTING LESSON - Give your Portfolio Some Breathing Space - 4th Dec 21
Don’t Get Yourself Into a Bull Trap With Gold - 4th Dec 21
GOLD HAS LOTS OF POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE - 4th Dec 21
4 Tips To Help You Take Better Care Of Your Personal Finances- 4th Dec 21
What Is A Golden Cross Pattern In Trading? - 4th Dec 21
Bitcoin Price TRIGGER for Accumulating Into Alt Coins for 2022 Price Explosion - Part 2 - 3rd Dec 21
Stock Market Major Turning Point Taking Place - 3rd Dec 21
The Masters of the Universe and Gold - 3rd Dec 21
This simple Stock Market mindset shift could help you make millions - 3rd Dec 21
Will the Glasgow Summit (COP26) Affect Energy Prices? - 3rd Dec 21
Peloton 35% CRASH a Lesson of What Happens When One Over Pays for a Loss Making Growth Stock - 1st Dec 21
Stock Market Sentiment Speaks: I Fear For Retirees For The Next 20 Years - 1st Dec 21 t
Will the Anointed Finanical Experts Get It Wrong Again? - 1st Dec 21
Main Differences Between the UK and Canadian Gaming Markets - 1st Dec 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Gloomy Corporate Earnings Prospects Hold Key to Stock Market Investing

Stock-Markets / Investing 2009 Jan 02, 2009 - 08:16 AM GMT

By: Money_Morning

Stock-Markets

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleMartin Hutchinson writes: The consensus estimate of earnings for the Standard and Poor's 500 Index for 2009 is currently about $83. The index itself is currently standing at about 904. That means the market is trading on only 10.6 times next year's forecast earnings, far below the historical average multiple.

So it is a screaming buy, right?


Not so fast.

“Consensus” estimates of earnings lag reality substantially. Because they include an average of all earnings forecasts over a considerable period, forecasts made in late September would still be included in today's consensus estimate. But in a period such as the present, when reality has changed substantially since September, the official consensus forecast may differ wildly from what most analysts currently believe. The $83 number is thus a lagging indicator, which doesn't take account of financial sector disasters, sharply slowing output, or tight credit conditions.

Most analysts, finally made more cautious by five successive quarters of declining earnings on the S&P 500 index, currently believe that the S&P 500 will earn about $60 in 2009. What's more, David Rosenberg of Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. ( MER ), who has been exceptionally bearish for some time with an estimate of $50, has been joined in bearishness by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. ( GS ), which has brought its group estimate down to $53.

That's much more scary. Taking the average S&P 500 multiple at around 14 times earnings, an earnings estimate of $60 would put a “median” estimate of the index at 840; an earnings estimate of $50 would put it at 700. Take a bear market low at 10 times earnings, and you could postulate an S&P 500 low of 600 or even 500.

Still, bear market earnings estimates can be taken only so far, especially those of analysts. After all, on July 7, 2008, a joint report by two top houses predicted that the S&P 500 index would have its best six months since 1982 in the latter half of 2008. That's about as wrong as they could possibly have been!

Still, one should not be surprised by their failure; while one of the two well respected but wrong houses was Deutsche Bank AG ( DB ), the other was – Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (OTC: LEHMQ ). Truly, a lot can change in six months.

2009 Bears

Nevertheless, while it's clear that from an earnings viewpoint 2009 should be approached with caution, it is also clear that some sectors and countries will do reasonably well, while others have futures that are truly scary.

Some of the more bearish sectors and regions include:

•  Financial services: The entire industry appears to be scaling down to a fraction of its 2007 size, as many of the innovations of the last 20 years turn out to have been spurious. Investment management also is destined to be much less innovative and less lucrative in the wake of the Bernard Madoff scandal. Eventually, banks and other financial institutions will emerge from the downsizing, but 2009 is much too early to expect that.

• Real estate and construction: Housing won't bottom out until mid-2009 at the earliest, and will recover only very slowly thereafter. Non-residential construction will also be very limited, as offices, stores and hotels will be in glut. There may be some money to be made in road construction from President-elect Obama's infrastructure program, however.

• Emerging markets with no money: The emerging markets that rely on borrowing to fund themselves will be out of luck, as debt will be expensive and hard to come by. Eastern Europe and most of Latin America will be in for a thin time, as their balance of payments and in many cases budget deficits will take years to straighten out.

• Western European countries with high cost bases: The Western European countries with expensive labor and high taxes will find life tough in 2009, particularly if they previously enjoyed a real estate bubble or were big in finance. Germany will probably do fine because its high-skill labor is highly competitive and it had no housing boom; Britain, Spain and Italy will be in a much more difficult situation.

2009 Bulls

Conversely, there will be sectors and countries whose earnings can be expected to hold up well, and whose shares are worth looking at:

•  Gold mines: Inflation is almost certain to return in 2009, because of all the fiscal and monetary stimulus. That has to be bullish for gold , other precious metals, and mining companies.

• U.S. exporters: The rest of the world will show some economic growth, and the U.S. budget and payments deficits and expansionary monetary policy will make U.S. exporters benefit, unless they are involved in businesses that depends heavily on tourism, such as aircraft.

• Healthcare providers: Pharmaceutical companies may have problems with President elect Barack Obama's healthcare plans, because the returns for patented drugs will be reduced, but hospital chains and other healthcare providers will probably benefit from an overall increase in government healthcare spending.

•  Asian countries: In general, Asian countries will do better than the United States and Western Europe, because their cost bases are less overblown and their competitiveness is greater. China and India may have problems, but I like the prospects for Korea, Taiwan and Japan and for companies in those countries involved primarily in their domestic markets. If the Indian election in spring goes to the pro-business BJP party, it will be a buy too; if not, India will have difficulty funding its overblown government sector.

• Brazil: Brazil has a well-balanced economy, less foreign debt than it used to have, and a monetary policy of high real interest rates. It can, therefore, afford to expand domestically through monetary means in a way no other country can.

By Martin Hutchinson
Contributing Editor

Money Morning/The Money Map Report

©2008 Monument Street Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Protected by copyright laws of the United States and international treaties. Any reproduction, copying, or redistribution (electronic or otherwise, including on the world wide web), of content from this website, in whole or in part, is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of Monument Street Publishing. 105 West Monument Street, Baltimore MD 21201, Email: customerservice@moneymorning.com

Disclaimer: Nothing published by Money Morning should be considered personalized investment advice. Although our employees may answer your general customer service questions, they are not licensed under securities laws to address your particular investment situation. No communication by our employees to you should be deemed as personalized investment advice. We expressly forbid our writers from having a financial interest in any security recommended to our readers. All of our employees and agents must wait 24 hours after on-line publication, or 72 hours after the mailing of printed-only publication prior to following an initial recommendation. Any investments recommended by Money Morning should be made only after consulting with your investment advisor and only after reviewing the prospectus or financial statements of the company.

Money Morning Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in