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) 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.