The forward 4-quarter estimate is the key metric for this blog’s work since it’s the Street’s best estimate of the forward EPS for the S&P 500, and that means the forward PE can be calculated, and the “expected” growth rate as well.
Currently the Forward 4-quarter estimate for the S&P 500 is $171.14, and that is the sum of the quarterly estimates for Q3 ’19 – Q2 ’20.
When the quarterly roll takes place on October 1, ’19, the new forward 4-quarter estimate will thus be Q4 ’19 – Q3 ’20, and that current estimated value is $176.25.
On a calendar basis, which is probably easier for people to grasp:
2020: $182.66 (est) y/y growth expected at 11%
2019: $164.30 (est) y/y growth expected at 1%
2018: $161.93 (actual) y/y growth of 23%
Summary / conclusion: The forward 4-quarter growth rate for the forward estimate is now just 1.22%, that’s as low as 2016. Using the forward estimate versus the 4-quarter trailing estimate, the y/y growth has fallen to 4%, which seems low, but on the Friday of the last full week of March or March 29th, the y/y growth of the forward estimate vs the trailing 4-quarter estimate was 2.6%.
For what was a difficult slowdown in corporate earnings through the first 6 months of 2019, the fact is Q2 ’19 S&P 500 earnings growth turned out to be inline with Q1 ’19’s growth rate of 3%.
Two consecutive quarters of 3% S&P 500 earnings growth doesn’t sound like much. Q3 ’19 will have the toughest comparison with 2018. We’ll talk about that over the weekend.
A lot of folks are skeptical of the 11% growth rate for S&P 500 earnings next year. I do think a lot depends on the tariff outcome, but don’t discount it too much. That topic will be covered over the weekend as well.
Preview: October 1 Bump In S&P 500 EPS Forward Estimate
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