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Fewer S&P 500 Companies Mentioning Election in 2016 vs 2012


By John Butters  |  November 4, 2016

On November 8, voters in the U.S. will elect a new president and a new Congress, with control of both branches of government at stake. During each corporate earnings season, it is not unusual for companies to comment on domestic or international events that impacted their earnings and revenues for a given quarter, or may have an impact on earnings and revenues for future quarters. Given the unknown results of the upcoming election, have companies in the S&P 500 been commenting on the election during their earnings conference calls for the third quarter? How concerned are S&P 500 companies about the election?

To answer this question, FactSet searched for the term “election” in the conference call transcripts of the S&P 500 companies that have conducted third quarter earnings conference calls through November 2 to see if the term was mentioned during the call.

The term “election” was mentioned during the earnings conference calls of 80 S&P 500 companies (or 21% of the 386 S&P 500 companies that had reported earnings through November 2). At the sector level, the Financials (15), Consumer Discretionary (14), and Industrials (13) sectors have the highest number of companies in which the term “election” was discussed during their earnings calls for Q3 2016 during this period.

What Do the Mentions Mean?

However, it is interesting to note that the total number of S&P 500 companies that have mentioned “election” in 2016 (80) is 20% below the number recorded over this same time frame in 2012 (100). Fewer S&P 500 companies have discussed the election in 2016 relative to 2012 over the same time frame.

Of the 80 companies that have discussed the election in 2016, 32 (or 40%) expressed some negative sentiment about the election. These companies stated that the election was a contributing factor in Q3 2016 (or would be a contributing factor in Q4 2016) to macro uncertainty, a slowdown in business activity, or to lower consumer and business confidence.


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John Butters

Vice President, Senior Earnings Analyst, Investor Relations

Mr. John Butters is Vice President and Senior Earnings Analyst at FactSet. His weekly research report, “Earnings Insight,” provides analysis and commentary on trends in corporate earnings data for the S&P 500 including revisions to estimates, year-over-year growth, performance relative to expectations, and valuations. He is a widely used source for the media and has appeared on CNBC, Fox Business News, and the Business News Network. In addition, he has been cited by numerous print and online publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, The New York Times, MarketWatch, and Yahoo! Finance. Mr. Butters has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to FactSet in January 2011, he worked for more than 10 years at Thomson Reuters (Thomson Financial), most recently as Director of U.S. Earnings Research (2007-2010).