Oil companies, airlines, hotels. Banks, miners, auto part manufacturers. Business has been made a big and broad-based bounce back-back from the COVID-19 induced depression a year ago.
Second quarter earnings season begins in earnest this week with hundreds of S&P 500 companies scheduled to report their latest 90-day financial result. Expect it to be the high-water mark for earnings growth.
Profits are expected to jump 64% compared to a year earlier according to FactSet. That would be the highest year-over-year growth rate since the end of the Great Recession more than 10 years ago. It also would be a sharp pick-up in profit expectations from just a few weeks ago.
Usually, analysts shave their financial forecasts as quarters come to a close, but not this time. Through the end of June, earnings estimates have been climbing as business returns, vaccinations expand and the job market improves.
This second quarter profit jump is helped by an awfully easy comparison to a year ago, when the virus was raging, and restrictions of all kinds were in place in the effort to slow the spread of the germ.
Investors have been anticipating this pop with the S&P 500 trading near all-time highs.
Big technology stocks like Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and Facebook are enormous influences over the index due to their size. However, less sexy areas of the market like energy, basic materials and consumer discretionary sectors have made big rallies this year in anticipation of this profit picture.
As always when it comes to earnings season, the market’s focus quickly will shift from the current results to the future. The easy comparisons to a year ago will fade, but not the expectations of continued profit growth.
Financial journalist Tom Hudson hosts “The Sunshine Economy” on WLRN-FM in Miami, where he is the vice president of news. He is the former co-anchor and managing editor of “Nightly Business Report” on public television. Follow him on Twitter @HudsonsView.