May 16, 2023
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Focus shifts to retailers as U.S. quarterly results hit final leg

May 16, 2023

​First-quarter U.S. company results are winding down, but investors will get one last blast of reports in coming days from some top retailers, which could offer further details on the outlook for earnings and how consumers are faring.


Investors are anxious to see whether the last results of the earnings season may be enough to turn the estimate for S&P 500 first-quarter earnings positive on a year-over-year basis.

Results so far this earnings season have been much better than expected.

Based on reports from 457 of the S&P 500 companies as of Friday and analyst estimates for the rest of the components, first-quarter S&P 500 earnings were estimated to have declined just 0.6% year-over-year, according to Refinitiv data. That estimate compares with a projected 5.1% drop when the reporting period was beginning at the start of April.

"There's plenty to worry about the rest of the year... but the risk of an additional sharp contraction in profit margins has come way down," Jeffrey Buchbinder, chief equity strategist for LPL Financial, wrote in a note Monday.

Still, key reports are due this week from Home Depot Inc early Tuesday, Target Corp on Wednesday and Walmart Inc Thursday.

"The retailers are going to be important because obviously they're going to be a clear sign of where the consumer is headed. I suspect big ones will do well, and specialty ones will be a mix of good and bad," said Peter Tuz, president of Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Both the S&P 500 and Dow posted losses for last week. Among the week's negatives was data Friday showing May U.S. consumer sentiment had dropped to a six-month low.

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