Tags: stock | investors | quality | earnings

Stock Investors Demand High-Quality Earnings

By    |   Thursday, 13 February 2014 11:40 AM

This year it's not enough for companies to report earnings that meet Wall Street analysts' expectations.

The composition of those earnings must also meet investors' exacting standards to avoid a selloff in the companies' stock, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Among companies whose shares have dropped this year after fourth-quarter earnings reports that at least matched analysts' forecasts are IBM, Twitter and Yahoo.

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Investors want to see evidence in earnings that companies can deal with economic and market pitfalls ahead, according to The Journal.

"Not all earnings are the same," Mark Freeman, chief investment officer for Westwood Holdings Group, tells the paper. The issue isn't just "what's the growth, but what's the composition of that growth?"

The measures investors are focusing on include profit margins, profit outlooks and cash generation, according to The Journal.

Investors have rewarded companies they see as investing in future growth through acquisitions or research spending, the paper reports.

One area of concern for investors is valuations, The Journal notes. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index is trading at 14.6 times earnings forecasts for the next 12 months, compared with a 10-year average of 13.9, according to FactSet.

Of the first 277 companies in the S&P 500 to report fourth-quarter earnings, 185 beat analysts' estimates.

"Earnings season is going quite well," Christine Short, a senior manager at research firm S&P Capital IQ, tells The Associated Press. "But what we're seeing in earnings season is not what we are seeing in the market."

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This year it's not enough for companies to report earnings that meet Wall Street analysts' expectations.
stock,investors,quality,earnings
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2014-40-13
Thursday, 13 February 2014 11:40 AM
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