SECOND QUARTER 2017 EARNINGS PREVIEW Q1 A TOUGH ACT TO FOLLOW
Burt White Chief Investment Officer, LPL Financial | Jeffrey Buchbinder, CFA Market Strategist, LPL Financial
Earnings season is underway this week (July 10–14) and may be another good one, with double-digit S&P 500 Index earnings growth possible. But getting to double digits will be tougher than it was in the first quarter when S&P 500 earnings increased more than 15% year over year.
First quarter earnings season will be a tough act to follow as the year-over-year comparison gets more challenging. The first quarter of 2016 was the trough of the earnings recession, so the first quarter of 2017 had the easiest annual comparison. Growth improved (fell less) in the second quarter of 2016 as corporate America began to emerge from the earnings recession, lifting the base for comparison for the just-completed second quarter. This trend will continue over the rest of 2017 given the earnings growth acceleration achieved during the third and fourth quarters of 2016 [Figure 1].