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Lowest Number of Companies Issuing Positive EPS Guidance Since 2006

By John Butters, Senior Earnings Analyst
Mar 31, 2015

For Q1 2015, 85 companies in the S&P 500 have issued negative EPS guidance and 16 companies have issued positive EPS guidance. If 16 is the final number of companies issuing positive EPS guidance for the quarter, it will mark the lowest number since Q1 2006. The number of companies issuing negative EPS guidance for Q1 2015 is above the trailing five-year average (76), but slightly below the trailing one-year average (87) for a quarter.

However, the number of companies issuing positive EPS guidance is below both the trailing five-year average (34) and the trailing one-year average (27) for a quarter. If 16 is the final number of companies issuing positive EPS guidance for the quarter, it will mark the lowest number since Q1 2006 (13).

Six sectors are on pace to tie their record for the lowest number of companies issuing positive EPS guidance for a quarter:

  • Consumer Discretionary (4)
  • Consumer Staples (0)
  • Energy (0)
  • Materials (0)
  • Telecom Services (0)
  • Utilities (0)
However, it is important to point out that four of these six sectors (Consumer Staples, Energy, Telecom Services, and Utilities), have only had one company issue positive EPS guidance on average over the past five years. The Information Technology (-6) and Consumer Discretionary (-4) sectors are recording the largest declines in the number of companies issuing positive EPS guidance relative to their five-year averages.

Two factors that are likely contributing to the low number of companies issuing positive EPS guidance, particularly in the Information Technology and Consumer Discretionary sectors, are the stronger U.S dollar and the volatility of foreign-exchange rates in recent months. A number of companies that have issued EPS guidance in these two sectors (and others) for either Q1 or for the full-year have cited the negative impact of the stronger dollar or volatility in foreign-exchange rates in their guidance.

FactSet Guidance Quarterly Report

Download the full edition of this quarter's edition of FactSet's Guidance Quarterly. Visit www.factset.com/guidance to launch the latest report.

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