Feb 7, 2020 - Economy

S&P 500 earnings continue to improve

Trade workers on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

With more than half of the companies on the S&P 500 having reported earnings, the consensus estimate for fourth-quarter earnings is down just 0.1% from three weeks ago. That's well above the 1.3% average decline for the past five years, excluding 2018, which was boosted significantly by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

By the numbers: So far, 22% of S&P companies have revised first-quarter profit targets higher, the highest percentage since Q2 2018 and third-highest since 2012, Bloomberg data show.

  • And, Bloomberg notes, "sell-side EPS estimate revisions are tracking at 47%, an improvement from readings in the 30%-range this time last year."

Yes, but: The coronavirus outbreak may lower 2020 earnings, Lori Calvasina, head of U.S. equity strategy at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg. She expects downside effects from the virus could pull growth figures down by about 4%.

Go deeper: The 5 biggest U.S. stocks account for almost 18% of the S&P 500's market value

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