What in the world has Wall Street been thinking? Actually, the better question to pose is why hasn't Wall Street been thinking about the potential harmful impact to the bottom line of Corporate America this year due to the rip-roaring U.S. dollar?
The dollar reached 14-year highs on Tuesday, continuing its momentum from 2016 spurred by the Federal Reserve's latest interest rate increase and expectations for tax cuts and other stimulus measures under a Trump administration.
But so far, the market continues to show it can care less about the dollar's resilience -- the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 119.16 points, or 0.6%, on its first day trading for the new year. The S&P 500 added 19 points, for a solid 0.8% gain.
It could be time for a reality check among investors, however.
An elevated dollar could easily derail some pretty lofty profit projections as companies with global exposure begin to report their fourth-quarter earnings and share initial outlooks for 2017 later this month. When the dollar is strong, revenue and earnings from the foreign markets of multinationals are worth less when translated back into greenbacks.
Already, S&P 500 operating earnings are seen spiking 12.3% to $132.69 a share this year, according to Yardeni Research. The research firm expects double-digit earnings per share growth in each quarter of 2017, with the fourth quarter delivering the largest gain of 14.1%.
All may not be well at Walgreens thanks to the strong U.S. dollar
Considering about 31% of the S&P 500's sales are derived from outside the U.S., according to FactSet estimates, Wall Street may be way too bullish on corporate profits.
Walgreens Boots Alliance(WBA) - Get Report could offer up a first glimpse on the impact of the dollar's strength when it reports earnings on Thursday. The pharmacy giant operates more than 4,600 stores overseas, and generated about 11% of its sales for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31 from abroad. Shares have fallen about 2.5% to $82.96 over the past month, lagging the S&P 500's 2.4% gain, perhaps on fears of tepid results at the hands of the surging dollar.
Walgreens Boots Alliance isn't the lone multinational seeing its stock hit a rough patch alongside the dollar's ascent.
Walmart's(WMT) - Get Report stock has fallen about 1.8% to $68.66 over the past month. The world's largest retailer's international business consists of operations in 27 countries outside of the U.S. It racked up about $86 billion in sales and $4.2 billion in operating profit overseas through the third quarter ended Oct. 31.
Sales and operating profit have been reduced by $8.4 billion and $431 million, respectively, through the third quarter mostly due to the relative strength of the dollar. But with the dollar continuing to strengthen, the impact could be more acute in the front portion of the new year.
Procter & Gamble's fourth-quarter earnings may lack some sparkle
The extent of the damage in the fourth quarter could come as a surprise to many on Wall Street as Walmart's full-year earnings guidance of $4.20 to $4.35 a share assumed no change in currency rates when it was issued in mid-November.
As for consumer products giant Procter & Gamble(PG) - Get Report , the maker of Crest toothpaste gets about 58% of its sales internationally putting it at especially high risk of a strong dollar. It's no surprise that P&G's shares have underperformed the S&P 500 during the last month, rising 1.4% compared to the index's 2.4% increase.
Suddenly Dow 20,000 doesn't look so hot, huh.
Staying on the topic of insanity, here are several reads this morning that will get the brain thinking.
Google Home could now talk to a Hyundai: Go figure, a car company may have stolen the Consumer Electronics Show. CarScoopsreported that Hyundai took the wraps off a new capability for Google Home to talk to its cars. It uses a customer's Blue Link account along with Google Assistant voice activated services. By muttering "OK Google, ask Blue Link to Start my Tucson and set the temperature to 75 degrees," the car will respond by asking for the owner's Blue Link PIN. Once done, the rolling computer on four wheels will adjust its temperature to the owner's wishes.
Carnival Cruise Line unveils the ultimate smart ship:Carnival Cruise Line(CCL) - Get Report unveiled new technology at CES that makes it borderline mindless to take a cruise vacation. As we reported, a new quarter-sized disk made of burnished aluminum essentially turns the hulking vessel into a smart ship. It will be provided to passengers before they get on the ship, with the medallion serving multiple purposes.
The most obvious use is the ability to lock and unlock a stateroom as a passenger nears it. They will be able to pay for merchandise and excursions, and get information on how to navigate the ship's many amenities by interacting with digital displays on the walls. "We think this is a breakthrough," Carnival Cruise Line CEO Arnold Donald told TheStreet in an interview. We agree.
2016 was the year of the great flood: In total, 19 separate floods swamped the U.S. last year, reportedUSA Today. It marked the most in one single year since records began in 1980. As to who profited mightily from the great floods of 2016, look no further than Generac(GNRC) - Get Report . Shares of the generator maker have surged about 46% over the past year as homeowners and small businesses sought to be prepared with back-up power.
Chrysler crushes it at CES: Clearly, CES is turning into the new Detroit Auto Show. Fiat Chrysler(FCAU) - Get Report showed off its millennial friendly Portal (seen below) concept car, err, minivan. The most eye-catching features, reportedPCWorld, include two large sliding doors that open outward and a mind-blowing digital dashboard.