Tags: Edwards | profits | fiscal | cliff

SocGen’s Edwards: Stocks Suffer from 'Profits Cliff,' not Fiscal Cliff

Thursday, 15 Nov 2012 11:03 AM

By Dan Weil

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The stock market’s 5.1 percent drop since Election Day stems from sliding profits, not fear of the fiscal cliff, says Societe Generale strategist Albert Edwards.

“The bottom line is, despite the upside economic surprises, profits have been spiraling downwards,” he writes in a commentary obtained by CNBC.

“It is not the impending fiscal cliff the market is worrying about, it is the actual profits cliff we have already fallen off.”

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

Edwards acknowledges that while third-quarter earnings have raised estimates for full-year 2012 profits, projections for 2013 earnings have dropped.

The portion of companies raising their 2013 earnings outlook has slipped to 42 percent from 48 percent a month ago, according to SocGen data.

There’s already a “profit recession,” Edwards says.

The stock market’s decline has come amid statistics showing continued strength in the economy, particularly on the consumer side.

“The last time we saw this divergence between the market and the data — mid-2008 — the economy had already slipped into recession some six months earlier,” Edwards says. “That is where I believe the market is now.”

With the third-quarter earnings season more than half over, just 36 percent of companies have reported better-than-expected revenue, well below the 56 percent norm, John Butters of FactSet tells USA Today.

"Everyone thought expectations were down so much it was easier for companies to get way ahead of them," Sheraz Mian of Zacks Investment Research tells the paper.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

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