We updated the proprietary Amenity Forecast Index for this week’s slate of corporate earnings, using our text analytics platform to identify the key themes driving the Index.
About the Index: Earnings sentiment of only forward-looking commentary from U.S. quarterly earnings calls. This analysis goes beyond the stated revenue and EPS guidance to capture all significant forward-looking financial commentary: market share, new products,pricing, inflation, margins, growth, Capex, hiring, share repurchase, etc.
We highlight 4 key takeaways
The Forecast Index improved marginally to 33.3 from 32.4 last week
The China slowdown continues, and safe to say, is now part of the status quo
Global macro commentary is mixed
We continue seeing pockets of strength in certain industrial markets
1. Amenity Forecast Index improved marginally off last week's lows, to 33.3 from 32.4:
The Amenity Forecast Index is measured on a scale of -100 to +100 on a rolling 30-day basis. The chart below shows the Index was firmly in positive territory throughout 2018 before catching a wave of caution through the first two weeks of Q4 earnings. This week delivered a small relief, with the Index up slightly to 33.3 from last week's 32.4. The key drivers of cautious forecasts remain the same, but factors such as macro uncertainty and slower growth in China are now becoming part of the status quo rather than incremental negatives:
2. The China slowdown is no longer surprising:
"We are forecasting the overall China market to be roughly flat in 2019, following 2 years of significant growth."
Cypress Semiconductor (1/31/19):
"We continue to see our Asia-Pac distributors remaining cautious or in a wait-and-see approach to market uncertainties."
Dow DuPont (1/31/19):
"We anticipate China to continue to grow this year, albeit at a slower pace."
3M Company (1/29/19):
"I think in the case of China and Asia, where we’re guiding to low to mid-single digits, if anything, I’d expect the first quarter to be the more challenged of those and then progressively better."
3. Overall macro commentary is mixed:
"We anticipate continued strong growth in our business in 2019 but have assumed a slight moderation in the overall economic environment from 2018."
United Parcel Service (1/31/19):
"Looking ahead to 2019, external forecasts are calling for somewhat softer export and GDP growth across major economies due to uncertainty over trade policy."
"We anticipate continued economic and trade uncertainty to temper overall demand,resulting moderate, but positive industry growth of approximately 1% globally."
4. Pockets of strength remain in Industrial markets:
"We expect 4% to 5% growth in Electrical Products with continued strength in Industrial and large commercial projects. For Electrical Systems & Services, we see 5% to 6% organic growth. And here, our backlog is very strong. We expect continued market strength in power distribution assemblies in the Americas and in the data center markets globally."
"We continue to see healthy global demand for our offerings in commercial, defense, space, and services."
"In Construction Industries, we believe a healthy U.S. economy, continued pipeline construction and state and local funding for infrastructure development will be favorable in 2019."
"I’d comment that we’re off to a very good start. January sales will come in high above our first quarter guidance, so we’re feelinggood about that momentum."
General Electric (1/31/19):
"We expect industrial organic revenue growth to be up low to mid-single digits on the back of a significant ramp in renewables and continued strength in Aviation and Healthcare."
Ball Corp (1/31/19):
"Given recent contract wins, we anticipate adding at least another 600 employees over the next 12 months."