The latest news on US company earnings has been broadly positive.
- Two-thirds of the companies in the S&P500 equity index have reported their results for the fourth quarter of 2023. The figures have been encouraging so far, which has contributed to the gains in US stock markets so far this year.
- Earnings by those companies that have reported were 4.4% higher than for the same period a year ago. While this may not seem like much, it is actually 2.8% higher than what analysts had forecast, hence the positive ‘surprise’.
- Most sectors have reported higher profits versus a year ago with the notable exception of the financials sector. Though many energy companies have so far reported profit gains, once all the companies in the sector have released their results, the final figure will likely show a drop in profits as a result of lower oil prices compared to 2022.