US earnings season nears end, focus next week on Europe
The fourth quarter earnings season is nearing its end in the US, and thus we have a good enough global sample of multinational companies in place. Officially, however, the earnings season is not over until April 9, and some major European companies are still due to report next week.
Overall the earnings season has been quite good, given the difficult conditions that the global economy, and particularly Europe, saw in the fourth quarter. As we wrote in our analysis Demystifying the effect of Apple's strong earnings on the S&P 500 , net income grew 5.7 percent year-over-year when we exclude Apple, financials and utilities (the most distorting components). Again removing these factors, the earnings surprise was 2.3 percent, compared to 3.3 percent for all of the S&P 500. This is still decent and in line with the 2Q and 3Q 2011 figures.
Next week is primarily driven by European companies, with the most notable being A.P. Moeller - Maersk, HSBC, Bayer, Repsol, Standard Chartered, Continental and Vivendi.