In A Stormy Earnings Season, These Two Sectors Should Be Safe Havens

By: Joseph Hogue of Street Authority 

In June, as the third quarter got underway, consensus profits for companies in the SP 500 were expected to show a modest 1% year-over-year dip. Three months later, analysts now think profits will slide nearly 5%, from year-earlier levels.

Of the companies that have announced guidance, 76 expect negative EPS growth for the third quarter according to FactSet Research. That compares to only 32 companies that have issued positive guidance for the three-month period so far.

The pain continues to build in the energy and materials sectors, but many other sectors are seeing downward earnings revisions as well. Fear of higher interest rates and declining earnings growth led an 8.6% drop in the SP 500 index, and a sharp spike in the VIX volatility index since mid-August.

The trend is so bad that analysts are expecting earnings growth of just 0.6% in the fourth quarter. The revenue picture is equally challenging.

Analysts think that third-quarter sales fell 3.3% against the same quarter last year. On a full-year basis, they are modeling for a 2.4% drop in sales. Unless revenue growth returns soon, investors may start questioning whether corporate management teams can squeeze further earnings growth from continued cutbacks. Continue reading "In A Stormy Earnings Season, These Two Sectors Should Be Safe Havens"

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30607462

Coke Vs. Pepsi: By The Numbers

History has shown us that America was built on the back of positive rivalries.

Like the long-standing feud between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox... or the U.S. vs. Russia in the Olympics. That's to say nothing of more serious rivalries like the political feud between Democrats and Republicans.

Nothing can drive competitors to perform their best like a well-matched rivalry. This is particularly true in the world of business. Think of Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), Ford (NYSE: F) and General Motors (NYSE: GM), or ATT (NYSE: T) and Sprint (NYSE: S).

All of these (and dozens of others) have resulted in increased innovation, industry growth and -- most critically for investors -- shareholder value. One rivalry in particular stands out to me in terms of longevity, pure competitive zeal and using nearly every trick in the book for the upper hand: the epic cola war between Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) and Pepsico (NYSE: PEP).

Both of these companies have made great investments over the years, both offer solid growing dividend yields, and both excel in a particular niche. However, going forward, I think one of these companies has the edge on the other as an investment. Continue reading "Coke Vs. Pepsi: By The Numbers"

Article source: http://www.streetauthority.com/node/30449859