Looking at Q1 ’18 SP 500 Revenue Growth

The SP 500 fell 5.95% this past week, and is now down 2.91% year-to-date.

How is Q1 ’18 revenue growth looking as we head into the start of Q1 ’18 earnings ?

This blog has typically focused on SP 500 earnings growth, particularly with tax reform and cash repatriation, but don’t forget about SP 500 revenue:

  • Cons Disc: +6.4% expected Q1 ’18 revenue vs 6.7% actual revenue growth in Q4 ’17
  • Cons Spls: +4.2% expected Q1 ’18 revenue growth vs +5.3% actual revenue growth in Q4 ’17
  • Energy: +14.% expected, vs 20% actual in Q4 ’17
  • Fincl’s: +2.7% expected, vs +4.4% actual in Q4 ’17
  • Hlth Care: +6.4% expected, vs +6.5% actual in Q4 ’17
  • Industrials: +7.6% expected vs +8.8% actual in Q4 ’17
  • Basic Mat:  +12.1% expected vs +12.6% actual in Q4 ’17
  • Real Estate: +7.3% expected vs. +8.4% actual in Q4 ’17
  • Technology: +13.9% expected vs. +13% actual in Q4 ’17
  • Telco: +4.1% expected vs. +3.3% actual on Q4 ’17
  • Utilities: +1.4% expected vs. +4% actual in Q4 ’17
  • SP 500: +7.3% expected vs. actual +8.3% in Q4 ’17

Data source: Thomson Reuters

What was interesting looking at the above table only Technology and Telco have seen higher expected” growth in revenue for Q1 ’18 versus Q4 ’17. The rest of the sectors expect lower sequential revenue growth for Q1 ’18 vs Q4 ’17.

From a different perspective, using Thomson Reuter’s data, here is a chronology of the dollar estimates of Q1 ’18 SP 500 revenue the last three months:

  • 3/23/18: $2.634 trillion
  • 2/22/18: $2.654 trillion
  • 1/22/18: $2.645 trillion

While it’s a small data set, it pays to watch changes in SP 500 revenue expectations. Financial analysts have long understood that there are many ways to manipulate earnings, but revenue is a little harder to fudge. Sure, there are various revenue recognition principles, but revenue ultimately drives cash-flow.

The “big 3” companies that came to mind while writing today’s blog in terms of SP 500 revenue are:

  • WalMart: expected fiscal 2019 revenue $511 billion
  • Exxon Mobil: expected 2018 revenue $325 billion
  • Apple: expected fiscal 2018 revenue $263 billion

Just those three companies comprise roughly $1.1 trillion of the expected $10  – $11 trillion (estimated) in SP 500 revenue in 2018.

Conclusion: only one of the above companies is seeing upward revisions to expected 2018 revenue estimates and that is Exxon-Mobil (XOM). Another interesting angle to the data, is that Technology is expecting higher revenue growth in Q1 ’18 vs Q4 ’17, even though Apple is seeing downward revisions to expected fiscal 2018 revenue estimates.

The surprising stat around Q4 ’17 wasn’t the SP 500 earnings upside, but the fact that 76.9% of the SP 500 companies saw a beat on their revenue estimates. Per Thomson, the Q4 ’17 revenue beat is well above the long-term average of 60%.

Q1 ’18 is still looking for decent revenue growth, but its the rate of change that is important.

Thanks for reading…




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