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不看好股市了?华尔街的收益预测在快速下跌

Shawn Tully 2019年02月20日

华尔街的预期一直很高,但以前可能太高了。

图片来源:Spencer Platt—Getty Images

虽然很少有投资者注意到或者想注意到,但华尔街预计2019年大部分时间里股市将遭遇收益寒冬,不过会因为年底飙升至新的高度得到拯救。“寒冬”一说十分可信。本应该把股市从平庸甚至更差的预期中解救出来的大解冻并不会发生。

2019年的牛市行情中,虽然收益不会像去年那样大幅上涨,但仍将上扬5%至10%,考虑到2018年全年四个季度都表现惊人,打破了各种纪录,想要保持同样成绩实在不易,所以这个数字也已经十分不错。

人们普遍认为2019年会在史上最佳年份的基础上适度增长,但投资者应该警惕这种看法。证券分析师对未来收益的预测几乎总是过于乐观,甚至是太过乐观。因此随着收益发布季的来临,分析师对第四季度收益的预测就会大幅下跌,公布的收益总是比预测低很多。

令人不安的是,分析师预见2019年不仅仅是第一季度、而是前九个月几乎都不会有增长。金融数据和分析公司FactSet调研了分析师对未来收益发展的普遍看法。FactSet在1月25日发布的《透视收益》(“Earnings Insight”)报告中指出,华尔街预计第一季度每股收益仅增长0.7%,截至9月30日,前三个季度增幅为2.1%,即从122.68美元略增至125.27美元。

因此,股票分析师预测今年大部分时间通胀调整后的每股收益涨幅几乎为零。华尔街的悲观看法的事情应当引起警惕。如果银行和经纪人认为情况会变差,实际数字会更差。事实上,之所以认为2019年仍将获得不错收益,完全是因为人们预测第四季度将出现井喷式增长。FactSet表示,这种想法很普遍,但需要2019年第四季度同比增长11.5%达到每股44.92美元。如果2019年收尾能如此强势,全年每股盈利增长率将提升至6.3%。

现在预测出现惊人的后撤,因此哪怕是中等程度的盈利预测能否实现也十分值得怀疑。预估值越激进,越不靠谱,越容易受到重大下跌风险的影响。欢迎再次来到童话乐园。

全年收益预测迅速下跌,童话正在褪色。截至12月31日,预测值为7.8%。第四季度上涨接近12%的可能性有多大?预测中的44.92美元将比去年第三季度的史上最佳季度业绩高5%。分析师预测,标普500成分公司2019年的收入增长仅为4.8%,比去年增幅下降近4个百分点,而这一数字同样可能因为过度乐观而有所夸大。因此实际上,华尔街预计今年的利润作为国民收入、财政收入和股东权益的一部分,将在2018年历史新高的基础上再次上涨,推动每股收益上升6.3%。第四季度的利润额更需要远远高出2018年史诗般的纪录。

分析师对2019年大部分时间“实际”利润增长为零的惊人预测应该扩大至2019年全年。盈利不会总是推翻经济学的引力模型,如果投资者能真正读懂经济信号(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Though few investors are noticing, or want to, Wall Street is predicting a chill in earnings for most of 2019—rescued by a surge to new heights at the close of the year. The “chill” scenario is convincing. The big defrost that’s supposed to salvage the outlook from mediocre or worse––is not.

The bull case for 2019 holds that although earnings growth won’t prove nearly as strong as last year, profits will still rise in the mid-to-high single digits, not bad at all, considering that 2018 is a tough act to follow, a blockbuster four quarter span that shattered all records.

Investors should be wary of the widespread view that 2019 will modestly improve on the best year ever. Securities analysts’ forecasts for future earnings are almost always overly, or even wildly, optimistic. The estimates made for a quarter nine months hence drop sharply as that earnings season gets closer and closer, and the reported profits are almost always a lot lower than the forecasts posted months earlier.

What’s unsettling is that analysts already foresee almost no profit growth, not just for Q1, but for the first nine months of 2019. FactSet, the financial data and analytics firm, polls analysts to establish their consensus readings on the course of future profits. In its “Earnings Insight” report released on January 25, FactSet noted that Wall Street forecasts EPS gains of just .7% in Q1, and 2.1% for the three quarters ending September 30, registering a tiny increase from $122.68 to $125.27.

So equity analysts anticipate almost zero inflation-adjusted growth in earnings-per-share for most of the year. That Wall Street is turning pessimistic should sound an alarm. When the banks and brokers think things will get bad, look for the actual numbers to be worse. In fact, the view that 2019 will still be a pretty good year depends entirely on predictions for a blowout fourth quarter. According to FactSet, the consensus calls for a jump of 11.5% over Q4 of 2018 to $44.92 a share. That powerhouse finale would raise EPS gains for the year to 6.3%.

Those astoundingly backloaded estimates render even the middling profit forecast extremely questionable. The farther out the estimate, the more unreliable, and more vulnerable to a radical downshift, it becomes. Welcome once again to fantasyland.

The fantasy is fading, as shown by the rapid drop in that full-year profit forecast. As late as December 31, the reading stood at 7.8%. How likely is an almost 12% resurgence in Q4? The predicted $44.92 would exceed the highest quarterly result ever achieved, notched in Q3 of last year, by almost 5%. Analysts predict that S&P 500 revenues will wax just 4.8% in 2019, a drop of almost 4 points from last year, and a figure that, once again, is likely inflated by over-optimism. So in effect, Wall Street anticipates that margins for the year will rise from their already never-before-seen heights as a share of national income, revenues and shareholder equity to generate 6.3% increases in EPS. And by Q4, those margins would need to tower well above the epic, never-before-seen levels of 2018.

BThe analyst community’s surprise prediction of zero “real” profit growth for most of 2019 should be extended to all of 2019. Earnings don’t defy economic gravity forever, and if investors really read its signals, Wall Street––in its own way––is acknowledging that gravity is taking hold once again.

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