“Commercial borrowers look to have adopted a wait-and-see approach, rather than taking on debt,” Goldman said in a note to clients. “This policy uncertainty can be partially attributed to a lack of personnel in key executive positions in the new administration. … While President Trump has fully confirmed his cabinet, we highlight that only 46 (8 percent) executive appointments requiring Senate confirmation have been finalized by the Senate.”
Analysts will have their eyes on a few key metrics outside of the usual top- and bottom-line numbers: consumer loan delinquencies, net interest margins and trading levels. Goldman estimates that fixed income, commodities and currencies activity — FICC, in industry parlance — will be off 24 percent on a quarterly basis and 16 percent annually. That, in turn, could weigh on M&A for the rest of the year.
“That being said, if we gain more clarity on US fiscal and economic policy, this trend could reverse,” the note said.
Earnings estimates in general have been coming down for the banks, though the profit outlook for the financial sector remains solid. However, that 6 percent projected earnings gain comes down to 2.8 percent when excluding the gaudy 20 percent projected for insurers.
Early results from S&P 500 companies, however, look strong. With just 5 percent of the index reporting, 78 percent have beaten on earnings and 87 percent on revenue, the latter being a record-setting pace.