By Staff Writer, Evelyn Cheng, @chengevelyn at CNBC: Maybe it’s earnings season that will turn the tide for stocks. Earnings are expected to show the worst decline since the financial crisis, yet analysts are holding out hope that the bar is low, earnings will beat and that will help pull the market out of its worst new year slump ever.
The major averages kicked off the year deep in the red and broke key psychological levels as concerns about global economic slowdown mounted. Corporate results, on lowered expectations, could shift investor focus back to signs of a more encouraging U.S. business environment. “Next week earnings should be the dominant theme. What companies are saying in terms of their guidances, that should be something more than just sentiment pulling the market one way or another,” said Quincy Krosby, market strategist at Prudential Financial.
The outlook for S&P 500 earnings is the bleakest in a while. The index is expected to post its first full-year decline in earnings per share since 2009, with a dip of 1 percent in 2015. Technology sector analysts are selectively positive on. Apple continues to suffer from suppliers’ announcements of reduced orders, indicating slowing demand for iPhones. But The Edge is positive on Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the spinoff unit of Hewlett-Packard headed by Meg Whitman that focuses on software and services. The earnings, which have no release date yet, will be the first time HPE reports as a separate company.
“We think with this breakup, especially with revenue stabilization, margin improvement, free cash flow growth, that’s going to result in more opportunity for valuation expansion,” said Jonathan Morgan, head of research at The Edge Consulting Group.