Analysts have been warning that US companies will report weaker financial growth this year. But not everyone is convinced there’s an “earnings recession.”
Kristen Bitterly, head of capital markets for the Americas at Citi Private Bank, said companies are posting big earnings, even if revenue isn’t growing at astronomical levels.
“We saw some really strong earnings this week,” Bitterly told CNN Business’ Alison Kosik during CNN Business’ “Markets Now” live show on Thursday. “And we expect that to continue.”
Facebook (FB) posted a record profit last quarter. Boeing (BA) hit a sales record. And investors have mostly been forgiving of companies with big China exposure when earnings beat diminished expectations, particularly with Apple (AAPL).
Overall, earnings grew about 24% in 2018 compared to the year before. This year, Bitterly said she expects that growth to slow to about 8%, which she added is still strong for an extended bull market.
“What we experienced previously was peak earnings growth,” she said. “We’re not at peak earnings.”
Although US stocks are doing well, Bitterly said people should diversify their portfolios by putting money into foreign stocks, where she said there are “tremendous opportunities.”
Citi Private Bank recommends putting about 12% of your portfolio into Asian emerging markets. That may surprise some savvy investors who know China’s economy is slowing. Although Bitterly acknowledges Asian stocks will be volatile in the near term, Asia’s growing middle class should will be a boon to Asian companies and drive strong long-term returns.
The region has extremely high savings rates, Bitterly notes, and about 88% of the growth in the global middle class is expected to come from Asia.
If investors are concerned about volatility or a market pullback, Bitterly urged people to hedge their bets by investing in health care and technology stocks. She noted health care is the one sector that has been able to grow earnings during the past three economic recessions.
Next week, Matt McCall, founder and president of Penn Financial Group, will join CNN Business for “Markets Now.”
The show streams live from the New York Stock Exchange every Wednesday at 12:45 pm ET. Hosted by CNN’s business correspondents, the 15-minute program features incisive commentary from experts.
You can watch “Markets Now” at CNN.com/MarketsNow from your desk, phone or tablet. If you can’t catch the show live, check out highlights online and through the Markets Now newsletter, delivered to your inbox every afternoon.