Several reports of the decline of first quarter earnings have been receiving a lot of attention on Wall Street. FactSet summarized the changes of analyst earnings estimates for companies in the S&P 500 for the first quarter of 2016. The aggregation of the earnings estimates for all the companies in the index dropped by 9.6% during this period. By comparison, the average decline in quarterly earnings estimates over the past 10 years is 5.3%. Analysts don’t like what they are seeing in 2016 and this began to weigh on the market in this week's trading. SPX dropped $21 to close at $2045 and RUT lost $13, closing at $1096. Volatility rose with the VIX closing up 1.3 points to 15.4%.
Trading volume rose today with 2.5 billion shares of the S&P 500 companies trading. Trading volume rose 15% on the NYSE but was nearly flat on NASDAQ (up 0.4%).
The ISM services index came in at 54.5 for March, up from 53.4. JOLTS job openings dropped slightly in February, from 5.604 million to 5.445 million.
An article in IBD today speculated that the high tech sector may be particularly hard hit in this earnings season. FactSet's report issued last week, but that story is gaining visibility and worrying traders. All of the craziness of the presidential primaries probably isn't helping either.