Boom To Bust—And Back

Goldman Sachs is predicting a powerful earnings turnaround in 2010.

The news out of corporate America is pretty bleak right now — with quarterly losses, earnings declines and mass layoffs accumulating like shadows in a Hitchcock noir. But some Goldman Sachs analysts see reason for optimism on the horizon. In a research report from December 9, David Kostin and three other analysts estimated S&P 500 earnings will decline 33 percent for full-year 2008, but flatten out next year — declining just 5 percent — and then come roaring back in 2010, with growth of 31 percent. The S&P 500 itself, they predict, will end 2009 up 26 percent at 1100. “We believe we have passed this cycle's low but the S&P 500 may retest the 750 level (-14%) in 1Q 2009 before trading higher,” they write in the report. The broad market index will need to overcome several hurdles before it can begin its recovery, however: 1.) Passage of a fiscal stimulus plan in the first quarter; 2.) Improved access to credit for corporations and consumers; 3.) Home price stabilization; and 4.) Declines in write-downs from financial services firms.

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