NEW YORK: With earnings season in full swing, more companies are again offering earnings guidance, signaling to investors that some corporations are adapting to uncertainty about a global pandemic that may extend deep into next year.
Overall, 73 companies in the S&P 500 index have offered guidance this quarter so far, up from last quarter’s 65 pre-announcements but well below the 170 companies that typically offer guidance, according to Refinitiv data. The companies offering guidance are giving the most bullish expectations in Refinitiv data going back to 1997.
“If a company is able to offer guidance it shows that they’re able to have a better idea of what’s coming down the road,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management.
The market has been buffeted by cross-currents related to the looming Nov. 3 US presidential election, drawn out fiscal stimulus talks in Washington and a resurgent pandemic. Still, investors appear more hopeful in recent months.
Fifty percent of high net worth US investors surveyed by UBS Global Wealth Management voiced optimism on the economy, up from 41 percent three months prior, with 55 percent optimistic on stocks, up from 44 percent. The S&P 500 index is up nearly 7 percent year to date, including a 2.2 percent gain since the start of October.
So far this quarter, shares of AT&T Inc, Verizon Communications Inc. and Quest Diagnostics Inc. have rallied after each company gave investors updated guidance on how they expect to fare over the next fiscal year.
“It’s not surprising we’ve had so many beats this quarter because we entered the season with very little guidance,” causing analysts to slash their estimates, said Katie Nixon, chief investment officer at Northern Trust Wealth Management.