Unexpectedly Intriguing!
February 20, 2020

Every three months, we take a snapshot of the expectations for future earnings in the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) at approximately the midpoint of the current quarter, shortly after most U.S. firms have announced their previous quarter's earnings.

While the earnings outlook for the S&P 500 slipped somewhat since our Fall 2019 snapshot, based on the data available as of 14 February 2020, trailing year earnings for 2019-Q4 have rebounded strongly over 2019-Q3, marking the end of a very short-lived earnings recession.

Forecasts for S&P 500 Trailing Twelve Month Earnings per Share, September 2014-December 2021, Snapshot on 14 February 2020

Looking past the earnings data for 2019-Q4 that is still in progress for being reported, we see very little change projected for earnings through the end of 2020, where forecast trailing year earnings per share dipped slightly from the $161.95 per share projected on 11 November 2019 to $162.22 per share in this snapshot.

Meanwhile, Standard and Poor has extended their earnings forecast for the S&P 500 out through the end of 2021, with the trailing year earnings per share in the fourth quarter of that year initially set at $176.20.

In the next snapshot, we'll simplify the chart by resetting the horizontal axis to start with December 2016.

Data Source

Silverblatt, Howard. Standard & Poor. S&P 500 Earnings and Estimates. [Excel Spreadsheet]. 14 February 2020. Accessed 17 February 2020.


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