Zacks Earnings Trends Highlights: Bank of America, AIG, Apple and Intel

   Zacks Earnings Trends Highlights: Bank of America, AIG, Apple and Intel

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, March 25, 2013

CHICAGO, March 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Director of Research Sheraz Mian says
growth expectations remain weak, a reflection of underwhelming management
guidance and tough comparisons.


Will Q1 Provide the Earnings Growth Bottom?

Revenue growth is a function of economic growth. And while GDP growth has been
fairly erratic in recent quarters, the expectation is for a sustained period
of growth starting in the second half of the year. Hard to tell how reasonable
the revenue growth expectations are since they are so closely tied to the
uncertain economic backdrop.

But margins are a different story. Expecting margins to continue expanding
after they have crossed the prior cyclical peak does not seem reasonable or

Key Points

  oThe first-quarter 2013 reporting season has gotten underway. Expectations
    remain low and it wouldn't take much to come ahead of them.
  oTotal earnings in the first quarter are expected to be down 2.8% from the
    same period last year. This reflects a -1% decline in revenues and a
    modest contraction in aggregate net margins. Total earnings were up 2% in
    the fourth quarter, with a beat ratio of 64.7% and median earnings
    surprise of +3.4%.
  oWeak management guidance and tough comparisons account for the expected
    negative earnings growth. Total earnings reached their highest quarterly
    total in the first quarter of 2012 and have yet to get back to that level.
    Earnings are expected to bottom in the first quarter and start growing
    again from the second quarter onwards -- the earnings total for Q2
    expected to surpass the Q1 2012 level.
  oUnlike the last many quarters, Finance will be a drag on growth this
    quarter, with total Finance sector earnings expected to drop -3.2% after
    +10.3% growth in Q4 and four-quarter average growth pace of +22.1%. Tough
    comparisons for Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) and AIG (NYSE:AIG) account for
    most of the earnings weakness.
  oFinance earnings resume double-digit earnings growth from the second
    quarter onwards, with third quarter 2013 earnings for the sector expected
    to top the first quarter 2012 peak. For the full-year 2013, total earnings
    for the sector expected to be up +11.6%.
  oTech earnings were weak last quarter and they are expected to be even
    weaker this time around, with total Tech earnings expected to be down 5.1%
    after the 1.6% gain in Q4 and the four-quarter average gain of 11.5%. The
    sector's earnings weakness is broad based and not solely due to the
    negative comparisons for Apple (Nasdaq:AAPL) and Intel (Nasdaq:INTC).
  oThe Absolute level of quarterly earnings has been flat since Q2 2012, with
    second half 2012 earnings up just +0.9%. This sub-par growth pace
    continues in the first half of 2013, with total earnings increasing 1%.
    But the growth is expected to pick up materially in the second half, with
    11.3% growth and further gains of 11.7% in full-year 2014.
  oA combination of revenue gains and margin expansion reflect the positive
    outlook for the back half of the year. Net margins modestly contract in
    the first quarter, but start expanding from the second quarter onwards.
    For the full year 2013, net margins are expected to top the 2006 peak and
    expand even more in 2014.

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Contact: Sheraz Mian
Phone: 312-265-9211

SOURCE Zacks Investment Research, Inc.

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