Unpacking the Latest Earnings Results: Winners and Losers

The latest earnings season has been a mixture of positive and negative results, with some sectors performing well while others are struggling to keep up. The aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current rising interest rate environment has placed pressure on many companies and sectors, a situation that is expected to persist for some time. Despite this, there are some signs of growth in certain sectors, and the overall outlook remains optimistic.

Sluggish growth

The earnings season showed that many companies performed below average. The earnings surprises reported by S&P 500 firms were lower than their 5-year and 10-year historical averages, reflecting the weak overall earnings growth rate. This mix of results can be attributed to various factors such as economic conditions, industry challenges, and company-specific issues.


Some key sectors such as Information Technology, Consumer Discretionary, and Communication Services reported a decline in earnings due to a shift in consumer spending from goods to services. Meanwhile, the financial and materials sectors were also struggling, as rising borrowing costs weighed on investment banking activities such as M&A activities and security issuances, an essential source of revenue for investment banks. Additionally, many banks have increased provisions for potential losses to anticipate future defaults, which has weighed on margins and earnings. The materials sector has also been impacted by rising rates, with many companies reporting lower earnings due to declining demand and weaker prices.

Bright Spots in Certain Sectors

However, not all sectors have been negatively impacted. The Health Care sector has reported positive earnings surprises driven by demand for medical supplies and services, helping to offset the decline in other sectors. The energy sector has been performing well, with many companies reporting positive results. This sector has been one of the few bright spots during the post-pandemic, with high oil prices and increased demand supporting companies. Additionally, the industrials sector is also showing signs of growth, with many companies reporting strong results. This demonstrates the resilience of some industries and highlights the importance of adapting to changing market conditions. 

Proactive Cost Management

Many companies managed to beat earnings estimates despite the weak earnings growth rate, but the margin was lower than the historical average. Some companies had to revise their earnings estimates, with some increasing their outlooks while others had to lower their expectations due to the ongoing macro challenges. Companies are focusing on cost management to maintain earnings, especially as top-line growth slows down. This is particularly true for companies in the information technology and communications sectors. But, so far, these cuts only represent less than 2% of revenue, implying that operating margins remain a big risk to earnings going forward.

In conclusion

the latest earnings season was a mixed bag, with some companies posting positive results and others falling short of expectations. The overall earnings growth rate was weak, but many firms still managed to beat earnings estimates. And while some consumer-driven sectors are likely to perform poorly there are signs of growth in certain sectors, and the overall outlook remains positive.

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