As third-quarter corporate earnings reports start rolling out over the next few weeks, Wall Street will be paying particular attention to top-line revenue growth, according to Uri Landesman, head of global growth at ING Investment Management Americas.
Mr. Landesman, who manages $1.7 billion in a large-cap growth strategy for pension fund accounts, cited the S&P 500’s breaking through the 1,070 threshold on Friday as a significant technical indicator.
The index had not closed above 1,070 since Oct. 3, 2008.
“I am reasonably bullish in the intermediate term, but third-quarter earnings will be very interesting,” he said.
A key ingredient to extending the rally, according to Mr. Landesman, will be companies showing that revenue grew during the three-month period ending Sept. 30.
However, he added, it is also important that companies say with confidence that the pace of revenue growth will continue in the final three months of 2009.
“I think we’ll get pretty decent news, and I think we’ll come out [of the third-quarter earnings season] at least as good as we are right now,” he added.
Mr. Landesman acknowledged that weaker earnings could send some investors running to the sidelines.
“The market is a little extended right now and the impact of earnings could be large at the extreme poles,” he said. “But I am expecting some revenue growth, and I think 20% to 25% of companies will be reporting positive top-line surprises.”