Home About Archives RSS Feed

@theMarket: Third-Quarter Earnings Reveal Two Economies

Bill Schmick

With one quarter of the companies in the S&P 500 already reporting, third quarter earnings have been a positive surprise. Eighty-six percent have exceeded earnings estimates and 67 percent have posted higher revenue numbers. What the numbers don't say is that most of those gains have come from overseas.

The revenue number is where we should focus our attention. Higher earnings can be achieved by simply continuing to cut costs (by firing workers, for example). However, looking at the revenue numbers gives us a clear understanding of where the growth is coming from. Not much of it is coming from the home front. A lot of that growth is coming from higher sales in Asia and other emerging markets.

Since the bottom of the recent recession here in America, the majority of firms in the S&P 500 have been exporting their way into profitability. This quarter was no different. Take United Parcel Services; it is one of the companies that investors consider a good barometer of the global economy because it delivers products everywhere. UPS showed a 3.5 percent increase in growth versus last year here at home while their international growth was 13.7 percent. Many other companies are experiencing the same phenomenon.

Clearly, the falling dollar has helped exports as has the increasing strength in emerging market economies, particularly in Asia. And this weekend all eyes will be focused on the latest round of G20 talks in Seoul, where the ongoing battle to "beggar they neighbor" will continue. We can expect currencies to be one of the main topics of conversation since our own U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has already fired the first broadside. In an open letter he has asked members to "refrain from exchange rate policies designed to achieve competitive advantage by either weakening their currency or preventing appreciation of undervalued currency."

In last week's column, "The Coming Currency War," I explained how the world's governments are using their currencies to increase exports at the expense of their neighbors. Clearly, U.S. third-quarter earnings underscore how our own policies have aided and abetted U.S. companies in exporting more. This makes Secretary Geithner's request look a bit suspect in my opinion. It will be interesting to see the response of other governments.

I mentioned last week that I was waiting for commodities, specifically gold and silver, to pull back. I expected that pullback to be sharp, and it has been. After hitting a high of $1,380 an ounce, gold dropped as low as $1,317 an ounce in what felt like a blink of the eye. Silver also had a commensurate move downward. As expected, a rise in the dollar was the catalyst for that pullback. Traders will wait until they see the results of this weekend's G20 meet before going back into precious metals or other commodities.

There is always the risk that some new policy initiative could strengthen the dollar and thus continue the commodity sell-off. It could happen, but I wouldn't hold my breath. There are few new policy alternatives on the table in Washington to revive the economy so my bet is that after a brief period of strength, the dollar will resume its decline, gold and other commodities will continue higher and so will the stock market. Under that scenario, we are back to buying the dips. Invest accordingly.

0 Comments
Tags: currency, global economy, dollar      

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

News Headlines
Vigil Scheduled for Murdered Trans Activist Jahaira DeAlto
Brian J. Dempsey MD Pediatrics Welcomes New Pediatrician
BCC Announces Virtual Info Sessions for Criminal Justice and Human Services Programs
Q&A: Williamstown Barn Restoration Moving to Next Phase
Flushing of Pittsfield's Water System Week 3 Begins May 10
Adams Aiming for Summer Reopening of Public Buildings
Images Presents Annual 'Fresh Fest' on Food, Farming
Eagle Newspaper Group Sells Off Vermont Publications
Berkshire Money Management Welcomes Two New Team Members
Four Ward Races Open in Pittsfield Election
 
 


Categories:
@theMarket (369)
Independent Investor (450)
Retired Investor (42)
Archives:
May 2021 (2)
May 2020 (8)
April 2021 (9)
March 2021 (8)
February 2021 (8)
January 2021 (5)
December 2020 (6)
November 2020 (8)
October 2020 (7)
September 2020 (6)
August 2020 (6)
July 2020 (10)
June 2020 (7)
Tags:
Taxes Oil Greece Euro Election Economy Stocks Debt Ceiling Recession Stimulus Banks Wall Street Jobs Congress Energy Metals Pullback Federal Reserve Rally Japan Bailout Debt Crisis Europe Retirement Housing Europe Interest Rates Selloff Markets Deficit Stock Market Fiscal Cliff Currency Commodities
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
Recent Entries:
@theMarket: Stocks Make New Highs
The Retired Investor: Are Inflation Fears Real or Imagined?
@theMarket: Fed Signals Equities 'All Clear' But Markets Don't Care
The Retired Investor: Empty Oceans
@theMarket: Stocks Hit With Possible Tax Hike
The Retired Investor: Our Hospitals Are in Trouble
The Retired Investor: A Highway of Opportunity
@theMarket: Stocks Grind Higher as Bond Yields Retreat
The Retired Investor: Water Becoming a Rare Commodity
@theMarket: Spring Has Sprung in the Markets