Even as price increases squeeze shoppers, analysts expect holiday-season sales to increase this year. With Walmart Inc., Target Corp. and discounters TJX Cos. and Ross Stores Inc. reporting results in the week ahead, we’ll hear straight from company executives whether analysts’ forecasts line up with their own. Based on the mood this earnings season, odds are the news won’t be good.
Those retailers — along with tech names like Cisco Systems Inc. and Nvidia Corp. — will report after many companies in the S&P 500 put out disappointing fourth-quarter forecasts. Only 25 of those companies have released upbeat earnings-per-share forecasts for the fourth quarter, according to FactSet data, while 52 have issued gloomier forecasts. With third-quarter earnings for 91% of S&P 500
companies already in the bag, most (69%) have reported earnings per share that topped Wall Street’s expectations, FactSet said. But that’s below the five-year average of 77%, and the degree by which those companies have beaten estimates — 1.8% — is also well below the five-year average of 8.7% and the 10-year average of 6.5%. If that 1.8% figure holds, it …