Posts filed under “Earnings”
Lately, there has been a spate of research, analysis and commentary telling us that earnings are at a cyclical high and must revert. Stock valuations, therefore, are elevated and earnings will soon begin to fall, bringing stocks down with them.
This is neither a credible analysis nor a method of valuing equities. Rather, it is an interesting narrative containing two predictions, and generally fails to acknowledge multiple unknowns and variables. (Let’s hold the question of whether anything as complex as the markets can be predicted with a single variable for another time).
Allow me a few more words to explain. Many of the traditional valuation methods rely on two or more variables. For example, price-to-earnings ratio uses both stock prices and earnings to determine if a company or market is cheap or expensive. This raises the obvious problem — obvious to anyone who is not innumerate — of forecasting one unknown by using a second unknown.
Why is that? . . .
Forecast 2014: “Mark Twain!”
By John Mauldin
January 18, 2014
It’s All About the Earnings
The Trouble with Earnings
What Would Yellen Do?
Forecast 2014: “Mark Twain!”
Argentina, Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, and Home
Piloting on the Mississippi River was not work to me; it was play — delightful play, vigorous play, adventurous play – and I loved it…
– Mark Twain
In the 1850s, flat-bottom paddlewheel steamboats coursed up and down the mighty Mississippi, opening up the Midwest to trade and travel. But it was treacherous travel. The current was constantly shifting the sandbars underneath the placid, smoothly rolling surface of the river. What was sufficient depth one week on a stretch of the river might become a treacherous sandbar the next, upon which a steamboat could run aground, perhaps even breaching the hull and sinking the ship. To prevent such a catastrophe, a crewman would throw a long rope with a lead weight at the end as far in front of the boat as possible (and thus the crewman was called the leadman). The rope was usually twenty-five fathoms long and was marked at increments of two, three, five, seven, ten, fifteen, seventeen and twenty fathoms. A fathom was originally the distance between a man’s outstretched hands, but since this could be quite imprecise, it evolved to be six feet.
The leadsman would usually stand on a platform, called “the chains,” which projected from the ship over the water, and “sound” from there. A typical sound would be expressed as “By the mark 7,” or whatever the depth was. In modern English language, it is interesting to note that the expression “deep six,” refers to this old method of measuring water. On the Mississippi River in the 1850s, the leadsmen also used old-fashioned words for some of the numbers; for example instead of “two” they would say “twain”. Thus when the depth was two fathoms, they would call “by the mark twain!” (bymarktwain.com)
And thus a young Samuel Clemens, apprentice Mississippi riverboat pilot, would take the “soundings” and from time to time would sing out the depth of two fathoms as “By the mark twain!” We think that is how he found his pen name. In Life on the Mississippi, Mark Twain describes sounding: “Often there is a deal of fun and excitement about sounding, especially if it is a glorious summer day, or a blustering night. But in winter the cold and the peril take most of the fun out of it.”
Yesterday, we looked at the benefit to McDonald’s of having its workers subsidized by state and federal aid. Today, its Wal-Mart’s turn. Recall our discussion last month on the related subject of “How McDonald’s and Wal-Mart Became Welfare Queens.” We learned that employees of these two companies are often the largest recipients of aid in…Read More
Billions of dollars, seasonally adjusted, after tax without inventory valuation (IVA) and capital consumption adjustments (CCAdj). Source: FRED I have been trying to explain to some of my more Fed obsessed friends there are factors outside the central bank that matter also. One such factor is corporate profits. As the chart from the Federal Reserve…Read More
click for ginormous charts Source: JP Morgan JP Morgan observes: “Shiller P/E shows the market to be overvalued, but not as extreme if you use the NIPA data.” I’ve never used the NIPA data, so I have no real opinion on it. The two charts look directionally similar, but different in terms of magnitude….Read More
More fun with price-to-earnings ratios: Earlier this month, we looked at the question of whether Stocks were Cheap or Expensive. That was a follow up to our glance at how much Earnings and Equities had rallied off the 2009 lows. The problem is the many ways we can define earnings-per-share. Do we use analysts’ forward…Read More
click for larger graphic Source: Merrill Lynch Research We interrupt the upcoming economic apocalypse and market collapse for this surprising message. Earnings are being revised higher, as are Revenues as well. Merrill Lynch, who tracks these sorts of things, notes that the latest revised expectations for Q2 are “1.3% higher than they were…Read More
S&P500 Earnings, Quarterly versus Price (Q1 2009- Present) Click to enlarge Source: Bloomberg Data S&P500 Earnings, Trailing Year versus Price (1990 – Present) Source: Dan Greenhaus, BTIG Following last week’s discussion on narratives, I want to direct your attention to the charts above. One shows the quarterly recovery in earnings and prices since…Read More