by Jeffrey P. Snider
EPS estimates are always in the practice of falling over time, so that natural process should be considered when comparing across the movement of the calendar. That said, however, earnings continue to defy projections of a rebound. This is not to say that analysts aren’t expecting one, only that the expectation keeps pushing further out in time.
According to Howard Silverblatt’s figures from Standard & Poor’s, as late as November analysts were projecting $27.71 in quarterly earnings (as reported) for Q4 2015 and $27.60 for Q1 2016. Those represented significant year-over-year gains (+21% and +27%, respectively) from the weakness that ended 2014 and began 2015, all figured to be transitory. With 98% of the 500 companies having reported their first quarter 2016 results now, those November expectations were entirely upended.