S&P 500: Sideways For Seventeen Months
If stocks are driven by earnings, then it would be logical to assume that during a period of sideways action in equity prices that earnings would also remain basically unchanged.
According to David Stockman's Contra Corner, earnings have been far from stable over the past seventeen months:
GAAP earnings of the S&P 500 in November 2014 were $106 per share on an LTM basis compared to $86.44 today. So earnings are down by18.5%, meaning that the broad market PE multiple has escalated from an already sporty 19.3X back then to an outlandish 23.7X today.
Has The Bigger Picture Improved?
This week's stock market video examines the case for new highs in stocks relative to the case for a bearish reversal.
GDP Estimates Are Dropping
Earnings estimates are not alone in terms of downward revisions. Forecasts for Q1 growth have also been dropping in recent weeks. From CNBC:
The CNBC Rapid Update shows a sharp decline in the outlook for first quarter GDP from a high of 2.3 percent to just 0.6 percent. Weakness has come from several sectors, led by trade but also including retail sales, inventories and manufacturing.