Friday, April 20, 2007

Will International Sales Prevent a Bear Market?

There are a lot of earnings reports coming out right now, and there seems to be a common theme. The US economy is weak, but international sales are keeping earnings going. Just below this article I posted points from Caterpillar's report that showed a big drop in US sales but strong international growth.

While McDonald's saw solid US growth, they also had good numbers from international sales.

Europe also delivered strong growth in the first quarter, fueled by robust same-restaurant sales across the segment.

Quarterly performance in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa segment was also strong, as the company cited its "everyday value and locally relevant products driving comparable sales and financial results across the segment."

Consider the above points in conjunction with the following observations from BCA Research:

Today, we present two U.S. equity implication of a soft dollar. First, the S&P growth index is mostly comprised of sectors that have sizable international sales exposure. Importantly, a soft currency makes their products cheaper to foreign customers, a positive development for revenue growth. Meanwhile, the opposite is true for companies in the value benchmark, as their client base is primarily in the U.S. The upshot is that analysts will continue raising relative earnings estimates in favor of growth companies in the coming months. Bottom line: diverging global economic expectations and a weak U.S. dollar bode well for growth over value.

This article makes a very prescient observation: growing international markets plus a cheaper dollar mean US companies are now experiencing a similar situation as Asian exporters.

Will this prevent a bear market? I don't know. But, I am seriously considering the implications of these events.