So how’s earnings season going so far? Not too darn well:
Looking broadly at third-quarter earnings results, FactSet says that out of 123 companies among the S&P 500 that have reported so far, 67% have beaten consensus earnings estimates, while only 38% have reported sales above estimates. FactSet says that "this percentage is well below the average of 55% recorded over the past four quarters. In fact, it is the lowest percentage of companies to report sales above estimates at this stage of the earnings season since Q1 2009 (35%)." [Emph. added.]
FactSet also indicates that the combined earnings growth rate for S&P 500 companies that have reported so far is . . . minus-2.4%. Separately, JPMorgan says that S&P 500 cash balances—that is, money sitting around doing absolutely nothing because managements see few opportunities to put it to profitable use—is up by 14% and now sits at a record $1.5 trillion. Forward!