It feels like a recession is already here for some S&P 500 companies. And it is in some cases. But a handful are still about to put up massive profit gains.
Eight stocks in the S&P 500, mostly energy firms like Valero Energy (VLO) and Hess (HES) plus materials firm Albemarle (ALB), are expected to post something that’s hard to find: accelerating profit growth, says an Investor’s Business Daily analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and MarketSmith.
All these stocks are on target to post higher profit in the nearly-ended second quarter. And what’s more? Analysts think their second-quarter profit growth will outstrip that of the first quarter. All of them, too, are seen putting up at least 100% profit growth, on average, in the past two quarters.
And that’s hard to find, evident in the S&P 500’s plunge into a bear market this year. The S&P 500 is now down 19.3% for the year.
“Second quarter earnings season will be very important as companies detail the degree to which they see costs affecting margins and confidence limiting sales growth,” said John Lynch, chief investment officer for Comerica Wealth Management. “We continue to project below consensus profit forecasts for 2022 and 2023.”
S&P 500 Profit Season
Investors badly need some good profit news in the second quarter. But it’s likely there’s going to be plenty of bad news, too.
Bad news keeps piling up about S&P 500 profit. Now, analysts think S&P 500 companies’ profit will only rise 4.3% in the second quarter, says John Butters of FactSet. If that’s the final profit growth number, it would mark a major deceleration from the S&P 500’s 9.2% profit growth in the first quarter. And it would be the slowest quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2020 when it was just 3.8%.
Additionally, analysts are cutting their profit forecasts for the second quarter. Companies are seen making 1% less than what analysts thought just three months ago. Additionally, 71 S&P 500 firms told analysts they’ll make less in the quarter than they previously thought.
And that’s why S&P 500 investors would be glad to find some accelerating profit growth.
Energy: Home Of Accelerating Profit
If you’re looking for accelerating profit, the S&P 500 energy sector is likely going to be your best friend. All but one of the eight S&P 500 companies seen putting up robust and accelerating growth in the past two quarters are energy firms.
Valero Energy, a San Antonio-based energy firm, is a case in point. Analysts think the company will earn $6.48 a share in the second quarter, up more than 1,250% from the same year-ago period. More importantly, though, that’s a powerful jump in the growth rate, too. Valero’s profit already rose an impressive 234% in the first quarter of the year. That means the company’s profit has soared more than 740%, on average, in the past two quarters.
Similarly, Hess is expected to post more than 817% profit growth in the second quarter. That’s up from the impressive 58% growth in the first quarter. And that means Hess’ profit has risen by an average of more than 430% in the past two quarters.
Albemarle: One Exception Outside S&P 500 Energy
Energy stocks don’t have a total lock on accelerating profit. Albemarle, a specialty chemicals company, is seen putting up more than 230% profit growth in the second quarter. That, too, is up dramatically from its 116% profit growth in the first quarter. And that’s enough to notch its average profit growth in the past two quarters at 175%.
True, these are just estimates. And analysts are still downgrading their forecasts. And if there is a recession, S&P 500 energy companies will likely suffer. But for now, these are investors’ best hope for acceleration.
S&P 500 Companies With Accelerating Profit Growth
Analysts think their second-quarter EPS growth will top the first quarter’s
|Company||Symbol||EPS Q1 % ch.||EPS Q2 % ch. (estimate)||Average EPS % ch. (Q1 and Q2)||Stock YTD % ch.|
Sources: IBD, S&P Global Market Intelligence
Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter @mattkrantz
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