Corporate Calm

October 27th Weekly Market Update

The stock market’s recent gains have gone a long way toward restoring calm in the marketplace. The rebound — 5% off the S&P 500 low on October 15, 2014 — has been driven by a combination of factors, including some better economic data, prospects for more support from central banks, old fashioned bargain hunting, and perhaps most importantly, generally solid earnings results. The market’s concerns have not fully been alleviated, but progress has been made.

We would argue that the market’s biggest concern right now is slower global growth, particularly in Europe where the Eurozone is potentially on the verge of another recession. Slowing growth in China also remains a concern, though less so. To help assess these growth concerns, we turn to corporate America to try to gauge the potential impact these slowing economies might have on corporate revenues and profits. This week, we look at what some of the most global U.S. corporations have told us about the global economic environment thus far during earnings season.

Putting Europe and China into Context

First, let’s put Europe’s influence into context. S&P 500 companies generate only about 15% of their revenue from Europe (excluding the United Kingdom). Therefore, a drop in demand in Europe must be seven times as large as one in the United States to have equal impact. From an economic perspective, Europe is an even smaller piece. The Eurozone is the destination for about that same percentage (15%) of our exports. That does not mean the region isn’t important, but this perspective is helpful. China is an even smaller revenue driver, as we estimate less than 5% of S&P 500 revenue comes from that country.

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