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Monday, May 15, 2017

One group of companies has emerged as the clear winner of this earnings season

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US investors who are focusing elsewhere this year are reaping the benefits. 

With nearly all first-quarter earnings from the S&P 500 reported, companies that derive most of their revenues outside the US are returning more profits and sales growth than their US-heavy peers. 

An analysis by FactSet showed that firms that earn less than 50% of their sales in the US saw a roughly 21% profits growth in the first quarter. That’s more than double the performance of their peers who get over 50% of their sales in the US.   

The divergence reflects the economic growth pictures of the US and markets elsewhere. Stronger-than-expected numbers in key countries including China and Japan contrasted with a slowdown in US consumer spending during the first quarter. 

Falling unemployment, wealth gains, improved consumer confidence and the prospect of income tax cuts should support a recovery in consumption from 2Q17,” said Brian Coulton, Fitch’s chief economist, in the Global Economic Update for May. “Weaker 1Q US growth was explained by consumption and looks to have been affected by temporary factors.”

Stronger earnings outside the US has also supported global stock markets. The MSCI indexes that capture emerging markets and Europe are outperforming the S&P 500’s 7.2% gain year-to-date.

Investors are turning to emerging markets like India amid high valuations in the US, said Martin Gilbert, the cofounder and CEO of Aberdeen Asset Management, in a recent interview with Business Insider.

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