Revisions Have Improved But Can It Last?April 24, 2015
The percent of stocks in the MSCI World Index that have had positive EPS revisions compared to six months ago currently stands at 45%. Over the past 7+ years, the average level of this statistic is 56%. So it currently stands below average levels but encouragingly it has improved from a low of 30% set on January 14th. Given the extent to which we have seen this earnings season affected by a stronger USD, one is not surprised to see a fairly strong negative correlation (-0.72) between revisions and the year-over-year change in the USD. The story holds for sales revisions as well. In fact, the percent of companies with positive sales revisions compared to six months ago and the USD has an even stronger negative correlation (-0.79) over the past 7+ years. The question facing investors then is where do we go from here? Will the strength in the USD moderate and consequently, the year-over-year rate of change will converge with our revisions statistic? Will revisions turn back over retest the lows made in January? Or will we have a several month period where these series diverge from one another such as in 2010 or 2012? One thing’s for sure, as this bull market continues to mature all eyes will be on earnings and this will be a relationship worth monitoring.