Benchmarking

Q2 Profits Slump, but Not if You Take Out Banks?

S&P quarterly report shows a 29-percent plunge in operating earnings, but a 3.2-percent rise if financials aren't counted.
Stephen TaubAugust 25, 2008

Second-quarter operating earnings for the Standard & Poor’s 500 slumped 29 percent from a year-earlier, preliminary figures from S&P Index Services show. That would mark the fourth consecutive quarter of slumping earnings, with poor performance from financial companies hitting the index hardest.

With 96 percent of the data in so far, earnings reported by companies fell even more year-to-year: 39.1 percent. Not surprisingly, the badly battered financial sector posted its third consecutive negative quarter, after accounting for 28.4 percent of operating earnings this time last year, according to S&P.

Excluding the results of financial outfits, S&P operating earnings were actually up 3.24 percent.

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Surging profits in the energy sector helped to boost overall results, of course, with energy contributing 25.1 percent of the S&P 500’s operating earnings, up from 16.4 percent a year ago. That means, though, that after excluding the results of energy companies, the rest of the index plunges 36.43 percent in the second quarter, according to Howard Silverblatt, S&P senior index analyst.

And what does it look like after excluding both the volatile financial and energy sectors? The rest of the S&P 500 companies eked out a gain of 1.58 percent, according to S&P.