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Pre-Open Sentiment Indicates A Positive Open

Oil prices were indicated to open higher ahead of the market’s open on Monday, but they ended lower on the session. We will see what they do today, though pre-open sentiment indicates a positive open.

A lot of the recent news flow about oil has been centered on production shutdowns as a result of wildfires in Alberta and disruptions out of Libya, Nigeria and elsewhere. These offline volumes should help with the commodity’s supply overhang in the near term, but we will be back to over-supplied market conditions once these barrels are back on the market in the coming weeks. As such, they are unlikely to have any enduring impact on oil’s long-term supply-demand fundamentals.

The more lasting impact on oil prices is what is happening to production from the U.S. Shale basins, which have steadily been coming down since last year, with the pace of production declines expected to accelerate this year and beyond. The recent rise in oil prices slows down that process to some extent, but the process of declines from shale fields will likely continue given reduced access to capital for many oil producers.

The only rational explanation for the stock market’s lock-step movement with oil prices is we view the commodity as a play on the health of the global economy. As such, it would only make sense for stocks to follow oil when it was moving higher as a result of improved global demand. That’s not the case at present; as we explained earlier, a lot of the recent oil momentum has been supply-driven.

Beyond oil, we have reached the final stage of Q1 earnings season, with the Retail sector as the only with any sizable number of reports still pending. Disney (DIS) and Electronic Arts (EA) will be reporting after the close today, but we have already seen Q1 results 447 S&P 500 members or 89.4% of the index’s total membership.

Total earnings for these 447 index members are down -7.4% from the same period last year on -1.4% lower revenues, with 71.1% beating EPS estimates and 55.7% coming ahead of top-line expectations.

As we have been saying all along this reporting cycle, the proportion of companies beating estimates has been tracking above historical levels in Q1 though growth has been notably on the weak side. Estimates for the current period (2016 Q2) have been coming down, with Q2 total earnings for the index now expected to be down -5.7% from the same period last year on -0.9% lower revenues, which will be the 5th quarter in a row of earnings declines.


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