S&P 500 closes at record high, even as EPS growth stagnates
By Noel Randewich and Stephen Culp (Reuters) - Wall Street set a record high on Tuesday, confirming that a decade-old bull market is still kicking following a slump late last year, even as corporate earnings stagnate and the U.S.-China trade dispute drags on. The widely followed S&P 500 marked its highest ever close, beating its previous record closing high on Sept
By Noel Randewich and Stephen Culp
(Reuters) - Wall Street set a record high on Tuesday, confirming that a decade-old bull market is still kicking following a slump late last year, even as corporate earnings stagnate and the U.S.-China trade dispute drags on.
The widely followed S&P 500 marked its highest ever close, beating its previous record closing high on Sept. 20, and the Nasdaq beat its Aug. 29 all-time closing high.
The S&P 500 has rallied 25% from Dec. 24, reversing a steep selloff caused by fears of higher interest rates and uncertainty around U.S. President Donald Trump's trade war with Beijing. Dec. 24 marked the bottom of last year's selloff.
The S&P 500 has slightly underperformed European stocks over the same time period.
(Graphic: S&P 500 vs. world indices Image link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2W3escq).
But as the S&P 500 has recovered, corporate earnings growth has slowed, and even shrunk, following a surge last year on the back of deep U.S.corporate tax cuts. Analysts on average expect earnings per share for the quarter to fall 1.3% year over year, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv.
(Graphic: Q1 earnings expectations link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2W65kUo).
While expectations for first-quarter EPS have improved over the past three weeks, forecasts for full 2019 EPS growth have become less optimistic, now at 3.0% growth, down from 3.3% at the start of the month. That is partly due to uncertainty related to global trade.
(Graphic: S&P 500 2019 earnings expectations link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2W4aRe7).
Higher stock prices and expectations for slower earnings growth have pushed forward price/earnings multiples back up to the levels that worried some investors the last time Wall Street peaked. The S&P 500's forward PE stands at almost 17, up from 14 at the start of the year, according to Datastream.
(Graphic: S&P 500 forward P/E Image link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2W1xtvZ).
Since the S&P 500's September high, utilities have been the top performing S&P sector, up 9%, followed by consumer services and real estate, both up 7%.
(Graphic: S&P 500 sectors link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2IEn0Ue).
Buoyed by bets about the upcoming rollout of 5G telecommunications infrastructure, chipmaker Xilinx has been the top-performing S&P 500 stock since Sept. 20, up 74%, while CenturyLink's 47% loss has made the telecoms service provider the worst performer.
(Graphic: S&P 500 top performers link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2ICbNDo).
(Graphic: S&P 500 bottom performers link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2IzHFZz).
Among the top 10 performers since Sept. 20, only Twitter has a forward PE that has declined during that time.
(Graphic: Forward PEs of top S&P 500 stocks link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2W0QfUd).
With the Federal Reserve widely viewed as "on pause" after hiking interest rate four times last year, the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has dropped to 2.6% from highs of over 3.2% last November.
(Graphic: S&P 500 and 10-year Treasury yield Image link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2W4gLfh).
(Reporting by Noel Randewich in San Francisco and Stephen Culp in New York; Editing by Alden Bentley and Leslie Adler)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Rania El Gamal, Olesya Astakhova and Ahmad Ghaddar DUBAI/MOSCOW/LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC, Russia and their allies will stick to plans for a phased easing of oil production restrictions from May to July amid upbeat forecasts for a recovery in global demand and despite surging coronavirus cases in India, Brazil and Japan. The group known as OPEC+ ditched plans to hold a ministerial meeting on Wednesday, four OPEC+ sources said, following Tuesday's meeting of ministers who are members of a market monitoring panel.
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence jumped to a 14-month high in April as increased vaccinations against COVID-19 and additional fiscal stimulus allowed for more services businesses to reopen, boosting demand and hiring by companies. The upbeat survey from the Conference Board on Tuesday, which also showed a strong increase in vacation plans, suggested the economy continued to power ahead early in the second quarter after what appears to have been robust growth in the first three months of the year, believed by many economists to have been the second strongest since 2003.
(Reuters) - The space race between the world's two richest men went into hyperdrive on Tuesday after Tesla chief Elon Musk took a swipe at Jeff Bezos' attempt to challenge a major NASA contract. The two billionaires, who have been trying to launch long-range orbital rockets, were competing for a coveted contract from the government to build a spaceship to deliver astronauts to the moon as early as 2024. Musk won.