Lower earnings? No problem

Amy Scott Apr 10, 2007
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Lower earnings? No problem

Amy Scott Apr 10, 2007
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COPY

KAI RYSSDAL: The world’s biggest aluminum company said after the bell today profits jumped 9 percent the first three months of the year.It was not an entirely unexpected announcement. Commodities prices are high and rising.

All in all though, corporate earnings are expected to come in fairly ho-hum this time ’round. And y’know what? People are OK with that. Marketplace’s Amy Scott has more now from New York.

AMY SCOTT: Corporate America has posted 14 consecutive quarters of double-digit earnings growth. That’s three and a half years. But as we head into this earnings season, analysts predict S&P 500 companies will report only around 3.5 percent growth.

Market strategist Ernie Ankrim with Russell Investment Group says that’s not such a bad thing.

ERNIE ANKRIM: We need the economy to slow down in order for the Fed to have some help in fighting inflation.

Ankrim says corporate profits are finally responding to a slowing global economy. But he points out 3.5 percent growth is still growth.

Investment strategist Jim Paulsen with Wells Capital Management suspects earnings actually grew by more like 5 or 6 percent last quarter.

JIM PAULSEN: The way the pattern goes with estimates is you start low, and then as the earnings come out, you raise ’em. It seems a good bet that that might be what we do again.

That’s partly why analysts don’t expect Wall Street to freak out over slowing growth. For weeks, corporations have been slashing their earnings guidance. Analysts in turn have cut their expectations.

Russell Investment’s Ernie Ankrim says the market has already “priced in” the quarter.

ANKRIM: The market doesn’t mind bad news as long it’s not a surprise bad news.

Just a handful of major companies are reporting in the next few days. So any big surprises probably won’t come until next week, when the onslaught begins.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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