EC Q1 Earnings Season Gets Underway

It is too early to start talking about the 2019 Q1 earnings season, as we are almost a month away from the big banks kicking off the latest reporting cycle. That’s when everyone in the market will start paying attention to the Q1 earnings season. Unfortunately for us, we don’t have the luxury to wait that long as we are responsible for maintaining the ‘books’ on every earnings season.

From our standpoint, the 2019 Q1 earnings season has actually gotten underway already. Including the March 14 releases from Adobe (ADBE) and Oracle (ORCL) that both reported quarterly results for their fiscal quarters ending in February. We now have results from four such S&P 500 members. Costco (COST) and AutoZone (AZO) are the other index members that have reported results for their February quarters.

The bulk of 2019 Q1 results will be comprised of companies coming out with fiscal March-quarter results. But as we all know, fiscal and calendar quarters don’t match for all companies, as is the case with Adobe, Oracle, AutoZone and Costco whose fiscal quarters ended in February. We club such fiscal February-quarter results as part of our March-quarter tally. It is in this context that the 2019 Q1 earnings season has gotten underway for us already. We have another 7 S&P 500 members with fiscal quarters ending in February on deck to report such 2019 Q1 results this week, which includes a number of industry leaders like FedEx (FDX), Nike (NKE) and others.

The fact is that by the time the big banks come around to report March-quarter results on April 12, we will have seen Q1 results from almost two dozen S&P 500 members already.

Expectations for 2019 Q1

The expectation is that earnings will actually decline in Q1, after many quarters of very strong growth. Growth got a huge boost last year from the tax-cut legislation, but it was fairly impressive in 2017 when there was no such support. If actual 2019 Q1 earnings growth turns out to be negative, it will be the first earnings decline since the second quarter of 2016.

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Note: Sheraz Mian regularly provides earnings analysis on and appears frequently in the print and electronic media. In addition to this Earnings Preview article, he publishes the  more

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