Goldman Sachs expects weak earnings growth across all major markets in 2019

  • U.S. banks have delivered mixed first-quarter financial results, and weak earnings growth can be expected across all major markets this year, Goldman Sachs' Peter Oppenheimer told CNBC on Tuesday.
  • Four of the six largest U.S. banks have released first-quarter results so far, with Bank of America and Morgan Stanley expected on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Investors can expect weak earnings growth across all major markets in 2019, according to Goldman Sachs GS ' chief global equity strategist.

Both Goldman and Citigroup missed revenue estimates in financial results announced on Monday, with fellow Wall Street giants Morgan Stanley and Bank of America scheduled to report earnings later this week.

Goldman's Peter Oppenheimer told CNBC's "Squawk Box Europe" on Tuesday that more dovish guidance from central banks has been crucial in triggering a recovery in equity markets, meaning the focus will now shift to earnings season.

"We do think that earnings growth is going to be quite weak this year in all of the major markets," he said. "So having seen the rebound that we've had already, much is going to depend now on how far earnings can grow, and I think that's going to be quite modest."

While the first quarter is expected to be negative for the U.S., Goldman Sachs expects a recovery at quarterly level during the second-half of the year, both in the U.S. and globally.

He added: "We do think global activity will improve in the second-half of the year, even in Europe which has really lagged behind, we have some tailwinds from moderation in fiscal policy, particularly in Germany, and also Europe should benefit from the pickup in China and elsewhere."

Investors across the world are concerned over a gloomy outlook for the economy. The European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sharply downgraded their economic growth forecast for the euro zone recently as external risks such as a slowdown in the German economy, Italy's rising debt pile and uncertainties around U.K.'s exit from the European Union continue to weigh in.

Stateside, the U.S. Federal recently signaled a dovish outlook in its most recent policy meeting. Speaking to CNBC on Monday, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he would be comfortable leaving interest rates alone until autumn 2020 to help ensure sustained inflation in the U.S.

But Goldman's Oppenheimer told CNBC that stronger economic activity may improve prospects for future rate rises, strengthening the outlook for banks.

"We've had projections of yet more negative interest rates or a longer period of negative interest rates in Europe, and that's borne down on the prospect of interest margins, but as economic activity improves, and indeed we get some expectation that interest rates can rise on a forward looking basis, that would be more supportive," Oppenheimer said.

The first-quarter earnings season in Europe has already begun with big corporates expected to report in the next few weeks.




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