October was an active month for guidance from S&P 500 companies, as 60 companies issued quarterly EPS guidance for Q4 2012 and 126 companies issued annual EPS guidance for the current fiscal year during the month.
The Q4 2012 quarter is on pace to tie the previous quarter (Q3 2012) as one of the most negative quarters for preannouncements on record. For Q4 2012 overall, 52 companies have issued negative EPS guidance, while just 16 companies have issued positive EPS guidance. As a result, 76% (52 out of 68) of companies that have issued EPS guidance for Q4 2012 have issued negative EPS guidance. If 76% is the final percentage, the Q4 2012 quarter will tie the Q3 2012 quarter (76%) as the quarter with the highest percentage of companies issuing negative EPS guidance since FactSet began tracking guidance data in Q1 2006. At the sector level, the Information Technology (15), Industrials (10), Consumer Discretionary (9), and Health Care (9) sectors had the highest number of companies issue quarterly EPS guidance during the month.
For the current fiscal year, 126 companies in the S&P 500 issued annual EPS guidance during the month. Of these 126 preannouncements, 62 were negative while 64 were positive. The Health Care (31) and Industrials (24) sectors had the highest number of companies issue annual EPS guidance during the month.