Big Burst of Profit Warnings Signals Analysts Are Too Optimistic

(Bloomberg) -- Macy’s Inc. cut its profit estimate, Barnes & Noble Inc. warned it might as well, Kohl’s Corp. reported lackluster holiday sales, American Airlines Group Inc. cautioned that earnings could fall short of its forecast and Ford Motor Co. said it would cut jobs in Europe as the region weighs on results.

That all happened this morning.

The consensus estimate of individual stock analysts as of Friday shows average profits for companies in the S&P 500 Index will rise 7.7 percent this year. That’s down from a forecast for a 20 percent-plus increase for all of 2018.

To be sure, a market-based analysis of earnings using the dividend discount model suggests equity investors anticipate annual profit growth of 3.7 percent through 2023, according to Goldman strategists led by David Kostin.

Analysts are likely to become more pessimistic, if this morning’s decline in the S&P 500 is any indication.

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