Here’s What You Need to Know About Earnings Season

Investing based on earnings “is akin to driving down the highway looking only in the rearview mirror”

Many investors and financial journalists believe that corporate earnings play a substantial role in driving stock market prices.

This headline from a few months ago captures the traditional thinking (Business Insider, April):

Stocks are poised for a big 2024 as corporate earnings stay strong… [major bank] says

The idea that earnings drive stock market prices seems to make sense. After all, corporations exist to make money, and if they exceed expectations, it seems logical that their share prices should skyrocket. If earnings disappoint, logic suggests that stocks should tank. And, in all fairness, when it comes to individual companies’ earnings, they can and do affect prices — although not always, and not always logically. But when you compare broad market performance with trends in earnings, you start to see a glaring disconnect. Why?

Because investors are not governed by pure logic. They are governed by collective psychology — which swings from optimism to pessimism and back again, regardless of factors like GDP numbers, unemployment or — yes, earnings.

Let’s make the point by using a historical example from Robert Prechter’s must-read book, The Socionomic Theory of Finance. Here’s a chart and commentary:

… in 1973-1974, earnings per share for S&P 500 companies soared for six quarters in a row, during which time the S&P suffered its largest decline since 1937-1942. This is not a small departure from the expected relationship; it is a history-making departure. … Moreover, the S&P bottomed in early October 1974, and earnings per share then turned down for twelve straight months, just as the S&P turned up!

A more recent historical example is from the December 2009 Elliott Wave Financial Forecast.

…quarterly earnings reports announce a company’s achievements from the previous quarter. Trying to predict future stock price movements based on what happened three months ago is akin to driving down the highway looking only in the rearview mirror.

You’ll notice on the chart that in Q4 2008, the S&P 500 had its first negative earnings quarter ever. According to conventional logic, stocks should have crashed afterwards.

Instead, a rally started in March 2009, which stretched all the way into early 2022.

If earnings and other factors outside of the market do not determine the trend of stock market prices, what does?

The answer is the Elliott wave model. Get important insights by reading our Financial Forecast Service. You can find out how to access it by following the link below.

EWI’s Analysts Anticipate. They Don’t React.

Have you noticed?

Most market prognosticators base their market forecasts on the news because they believe financial prices react to news.

EWI’s exhaustive research has shown otherwise!

Observations over the decades have shown that market prices are governed by Elliott waves, not exogenous causes.

This enables EWI’s analysts to anticipate.

Follow the link below to learn what our Elliott wave experts anticipate next for stocks, bonds, gold, silver, the U.S. dollar and more.