October is here and the kickoff to earnings season is just around the corner with Alcoa set to report next week. Here are the Top 20 stocks in the S&P 500 with the greatest expected year-on-year analyst growth forecasts.
Keep in mind that with the financial crisis in full swing by the end of the third quarter 2008, many S&P companies were already showing negative earnings and analysts had a tough go at correctly estimating with precision. Perhaps now that the markets seem to have settled down a bit, the analyst numbers will be meaningful once again. At the end of Q2, earnings were down 27.3% from a year prior. First Call consensus data from Thomson Reuters is currently expecting a decline of 24.7% for Q3 2009. The Financials and Consumer Discretionary sectors are the only two S&P sectors expected to show growth overall this quarter.
The leader of the Top 20, Whole Foods managed to eke out an EPS of $.01 per share in Q3 of 2008 (Fiscal Q4 for WFMI). Consensus estimates for Fiscal Q4 2009 for WFMI are for $0.18 per share, a Y/Y gain of 1706%. Of course, a one penny denominator helps too. Below is the complete Top 20 from ThomsonReuters based on absolute value of estimated EPS gains compared to Q3 2008 actuals: