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Cloudy Earnings Season Might Spell Troubled Water for Economy

(Gold Silver Bitcoin) Companies aren’t letting investors know what to expect ahead of earnings season. Less than 100 have published their expectations, the least amount since Bloomberg began keeping track in 1999. The latest drop in reports is the quickest on record, down 35% from a year ago. Investors are concerned about a pullback in car sales and a slowdown in merger and acquisition activity.

“There are some warning signs that are getting darker,” said BlackRock’s Larry Fink, in an interview Wednesday on Bloomberg Television.  

Gasoline, wireless telephone services, used cars and trucks, new vehicles and apparel all led the declines in the Consumer Price Index.

March figures for U.S. automakers were less than expected and provided evidence that the U.S.’ boom cycle in car sales could be declining. General Motors Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles shares both declined nearly 4 percent. Ford Motor Co.

Reports indicated that lenders may have been behind the decline in auto sales last month. Verizon Communications Inc reported Thursday that results fell short due to a drop in subscribers paying a monthly bill despite its launch of unlimited data plans. Share declined 2.3% to $47.80 while net income attributable to Verizon dropped to $3.45 billion from $4.31 billion, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier. Total operating revenue fell to $29.81 billion from $32.17 billion a year prior.

After having reached an all-time high on March 1, the S&P 500 Index has been confined to a 55-point range. One week it gains. The next it loses. Deutsche Bank AG showed the Index demonstrated its lowest volatility to begin a new year since 1965.

The US government reported on Friday that price inflation in the US fell for the first time in 13 months (-0.3%). The year over year rate decreased to 2.4%, overshooting the Fed’s goal, but still below the historical average of 3.3%.

Gold suffered its largest one day drop in over six weeks leading into the French presidential election wherein both far-right and far-left candidates could be elected, though centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron apparently is in the lead. The euro increased to a three-week high against the U.S. dollar after Trump made comments that the dollar was too high.

Gold increase 0.16 an ounce to $1,281 an ounce, hitting a five-month high of $1,295.42, then declining. “Even though momentum has been positive there are other factors preventing a quick move higher from here – the sentiment is still that there will be stronger data from the U.S., and yields will probably rise. That will likely limit the upside (for gold),” said ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele.

Equities increased marginally in Europe and the United States decreased safehaven buying demand behind gold. Holdings of the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, New York-listed SPDR Gold Shares, the world’s largest gold backed exchange-traded fund, increased 11.8 tonnes on Wednesday – their biggest one-day inflow since September.

“While the metal is well positioned for a test of $1,300 with geopolitical concerns underpinning its safe-haven status, the failed tests of $1,290 are beginning to weigh upon investor
confidence,” MKS said in a note.

“Supply will struggle to register any growth, and indeed is likely to show a small decline following unusually high production in Russia in 2016. Demand, on the other hand, will continue to expand,” said Johnson Matthey Precious Metals Management in a quarterly report. “Higher vehicle production, combined with an increase in average catalyst loadings at a global level, will drive autocatalyst demand for the metal to another record level.”

Spot palladium increased 3.2 percent to $799.58 an ounce, on track for its biggest one-day jump since early February. Silver, down 0.4 percent at $18.01, while platinum was up 1.1 percent at $973.24.

The experts are optimistic, expecting 9.7 growth in S&P 500 earnings for the March quarter, 12 percent for the full year. Growth estimates were zero as reporting season drew near.over the past two years.

Fink anticipates a 5-10 percent correction. “If we don’t have earnings validated in these higher P/Es we could adjust downward 5 or 10 percent from here,” Fink said. “If the administration does succeed on some of these items then the market will then reassert itself going higher.”

The data in toto could point towards a bearish economic outlook – an excuse for the FOMC to leave interest rates.

A good sign for safehaven assets like cash, bitcoin, gold and silver.



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