The January-March quarter of 2018 was eventful for U.S. equity investors. Positive reactions followed the Trump government’s announcement of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed last December. Soon after that, fears of inflation and imposition of import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum stalled the positive momentum. Then, the recent joint attack by the United States, Britain and France on Syria rocked the world, leaving many pondering over its possible after effects.

Notwithstanding these issues, equity investors must closely follow the financial releases for the first quarter of 2018. Though results of some banking stocks failed to impress the market, we believe that important releases, slated for this week and the next, will be a major determinant of the movements in the U.S. equity market.

Per our in-house classifications, the U.S. equity universe is grouped into 16 sectors. The projections, as published in the Earnings Trends report on Apr 18, calls for 17.8% year-over-year growth in earnings of the S&P 500 companies in the first quarter. Collectively, revenues of these companies are predicted to rise 7.6% and margins to grow 1%.

As of Apr 18, roughly 10.4% of the S&P 500 companies have reported their results. The performance so far is impressive, with year-over-year earnings growth of 27.9% and revenue growth of 10.7%. Beat was measured at 84.6% for earnings and 78.8% for revenues.

We believe that it will be interesting to watch how the earnings season unfolds for the Industrial Products sector. It currently occupies the first position in the Zacks sectors list.

Performance So Far & Projections for Industrial Products

Till Apr 18, 4.2% of the Industrial Products companies reported results for this season. With a beat of 100%, earnings increased 26.2% while revenues grew 24% compared with the year-ago tally.

With bulk earnings yet to come, Industrial Products’ earnings are predicted to grow 24.4% year over year in the first quarter. Revenues are anticipated to increase 12.5% and margins are projected to expand 0.9%.

Despite the turbulence in the market, we believe that many positive factors during the quarter must have supported growth for the industrial companies. Of many, trends indicating an expanding manufacturing sector, rising new orders for U.S.-made machinery, strengthening job market as evident from a 17-year low unemployment rate of 4.1% in March and 4.5% growth in industrial products in the first quarter are worth mentioning.

What’s in Store for 2 Industrial Stocks: SWK & ROP?

Below, we discuss briefly the expectations from the two industrial stocks slated to report their numbers for the first quarter tomorrow, before the market opens.

Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. SWK: This industrial tool maker delivered better-than-expected results in the last four quarters, pulling off an average positive earnings surprise of 4.28%.

Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
 

Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Stanley Black & Decker, Inc. Quote

Per our in-house model, a stock with the combination of a positive Earnings ESP (the percentage difference between the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate) and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) have higher chances of outperforming estimates in a quarter. You can uncover the best stocks to buy or sell before they’re reported with our Earnings ESP Filter.

Currently, Stanley Black & Decker carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) and has an Earnings ESP of 0.00%. Despite growing recognition for products like Craftsman, Lenox, Irwin and DeWalt FlexVolt; growth opportunities in emerging markets and zeal for product innovation, the company faces hurdles that can jeopardize its results for the first quarter. These roadblocks include weakness in onshore activity in the pipeline market, soft security business in France, poor sales of automotive system and commodity price inflation, among others.

For the first quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s Tools & Storage, Industrial and Security segments are at $2,126 million, $462 million and $479 million, respectively. These segmental projections are below the respective sales of $2,430 million, $474 million and $510 million, generated in the prior quarter.

Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter decreased 2.2% to $1.35. (For more please read: Will Stanley Black Q1 Earnings Disappoint Investors?)

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing a negative estimate revisions momentum.

Roper Technologies, Inc. ROP: The company recorded better-than-expected results in each of the trailing four quarters, with an average positive earnings surprise of 3.12%.

Roper Technologies, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
 

Roper Technologies, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Roper Technologies, Inc. Quote

Currently, Roper Technologies carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has an Earnings ESP of -0.32%. The company’s solid product portfolio, operations in diversified end-markets, large-contract wins and its acquisitive nature will be a boon.

For the first quarter, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s Industrial Technology and Energy Systems & Controls segments are $206 million and $136 million, respectively. These segmental projections reflect growth of 12.6% and 8.8% from the revenues generated in the year-ago quarter.

Over the last 60 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the first quarter remained stable at $2.49.

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