#EarningsSlowing is one of the themes we closed 2012 out with, coinciding with #GrowthSlowing. With growth now stabilizing and several facets of the economy recovering, we’re taking a look at how 2013 is shaping up from an earnings perspective. Right now, the consensus is that the next four quarters should show modest top-line comp acceleration on a year-over-year basis through 2013; there is headroom for revenue beats should economic activity & real growth accelerate. EPS comps should mirror that of top-line comps with the exception that on a two-year basis, consensus expects flat growth thru 3Q13.
One should consider that management using the fiscal cliff and Hurricane Sandy as an excuse if results disappoint for 4Q12. With the February debt ceiling negotiations adding an air of uncertainty to the earnings season, management will also be able to low-ball estimates and offer conservative guidance. The first quarter of 2013 faces a particularly tough comp stemming from favorable weather in 1Q12 and in terms of working days due to Leap Year & the Easter shift. For those companies levered to weekday traffic/volume, working days shift to a small tailwind in 2Q/3Q13.