The economic weakness outside the U.S. is about to pose a big threat to U.S. companies.
Those international-oriented companies, with more than half of their sales generated overseas, are expected to see an earnings decline of 11.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019, according to FactSet.
That is significantly lower than the earnings estimates for the S&P 500 and for domestic-oriented companies. Wall Street is projecting a 3.4 percent earnings loss for the S&P 500, while seeing 1 percent growth for companies with more than half of their sales coming from the U.S., according to FactSet.
“The U.S. economy seems stable, but an international slowdown eventually could spill over to the U.S.,” Scott Wren, Wells Fargo’s senior global equity strategist said in a note. “International trade and forward-looking economic data still are weakening, particularly in Europe. China’s growth should stabilize, but its economic stimulus probably cannot lift the whole world economy.”
Stocks have staged a strong comeback in 2019 but the economic weakness across the globe is starting to derail a market that has rallied more than 10 percent this year. The market posted its biggest weekly decline in 2019 last week after the European Central Bank slashed its economic growth forecast for 2019 and announced a new round of stimulus to help banks in the region. A disappointing U.S. jobs report also added to growing concerns on the global slowdown.
Executives from many companies have voiced concerns about the effects of slowing demand overseas and a global economic slowdown, leading some to cut earnings guidance. According to FactSet, 74 percent of companies have issued negative EPS guidance, which is above the five-year average of 71 percent.
Things are worrisome across the globe. The Bank of Canada said Wednesday there was “increased uncertainty ” around future rate hikes, while Australia’s fourth-quarter GDP expanded at a pace of just 0.2 percent. Amid the ongoing trade negotiations, China set its economic growth target for 2019 between 6 percent and 6.5 percent, its slowest pace since 1990.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell echoed the worries in an interview that aired Sunday on “60 Minutes,” when he said the economy is still strong, but weakness around the world could start to hit the U.S.