Weekly Themes And Charts
From Goldman Sachs, primary unfolding Q3 themes:
- Theme 1: Consumer Outlook remains weak; “End demand” in question. In a marked change from last earnings season, when companies discussed a “stabilizing” economy, this quarter’s conference calls focused on the continued challenging environment for the US consumer, a slow economic recovery in 2010, and the lack of underlying “end demand”.
- Theme 2: Pricing Power remains weak due to low Capacity Utilization. Most management teams cited weak pricing power in the current environment. A few even expressed deflationary concerns. Firms tied to commodities-related businesses tended to have a slightly more favorable
outlook on pricing power. Several calls referenced low capacity utilization rates and the probable lack of pricing power until utilization rates rise.
- Theme 3: Cost Cutting: Still at rapid pace, expect more in 4Q and 2010. Management teams pointed proudly to their ability to cut costs faster than expected in recent quarters and alluded to further expense reductions ahead. Only a few firms mentioned a willingness to re-hire staff into their company. Rather, companies tended to emphasize the permanence of expense reductions.
- Theme 4: Use of Cash: Appetite for capital spending slowly growing. In contrast with earnings seasons during the past year when companies emphasized the importance of cash positions on the balance sheet, management’s 3Q comments expressed a growing tolerance for capital
spending. Although not all companies had ramped up spending plans, most teams mentioned some sort of revitalization in spending via dividends, share repurchases and/or capital expenditures.