Focus on earnings over GDP growth

By Sarah Cunningham-Scharf | October 9, 2014 | Last updated on October 9, 2014
1 min read

Before dipping into emerging markets, assess their growth outlooks.

But make sure you understand the relationship between GDP growth and earnings growth in those regions, says Michael Reynal, a portfolio manager at RS Investments.

“The question is whether GDP growth, which is substantially higher in emerging markets, has an impact on earnings growth,” he adds.

For 2014, Reynal called for average GDP growth of 4.5% in emerging markets, and is anticipating a rise to 5.2% or 5.3% in 2015. “Compared to that, developed markets will be ticking along at … 2.2% growth in … 2015….”

At the same time, he says, “earnings growth for emerging markets should [jump] to about 12% [or] 13% [in 2015]. Developed markets [will] tick along at roughly 9%….”

In terms of analyzing how GDP and earnings growth statistics relate to one another, as well as how they impact an assessment of global equity markets, Reynal says earnings growth is often more telling than GDP growth.

“GDP growth as sales growth is simply not a predictor of future returns,” he says. Surges in “earnings growth — and, equally important, earnings revisions — tend to be great signals of equity returns.”

Currently, Reynal finds earnings growth in emerging markets is low. “We have had a sluggish four or five years due to a slow global cycle,” and that’s impacted materials and other export-dependent companies.

But, on the upside, “that’s going to turn around, and … we [predict] positive earnings revisions at 12%, as the economy continues to accelerate slowly but steadily.”

Sarah Cunningham-Scharf