Europe's debt woes have driven stock markets lower around the globe and may infect second-quarter earnings for U.S. companies with big sales in the region.
Information technology and consumer staples companies are among the most heavily exposed and are more susceptible to any changes in industry demand, analysts said.
Out of the top companies on the S&P most exposed to Europe, the biggest sector concentration was in information technology, with eight IT companies reporting 30 percent or more of their sales in Europe.
A Thomson Reuters StarMine screen of the 41 companies reporting more than 30 percent of their sales in Europe showed a decline in earnings expectations. Forecasts are down 1.3 percent over the past 30 days, according to the data.
We're going to see some impact, sector to sector, said Paul Hickey, co-founder of the research firm Bespoke Investment Group in Harrison, New York. Multinational consumer staple companies, like Coke and Heinz, have more revenue outside than inside the U.S.
Late last month Adobe Systems Inc
What we saw was customers delaying their purchases, slowing down the process to some extent, said Mark Garrett, chief financial officer of the San Jose, Calif.-based software designer widely known for its publishing and photography software.
Companies like software publisher Adobe and tobacco company Philip Morris International
New York-based Philip Morris International, which has a 32.4-percent exposure to Europe, attributed its total cigarette market decline to adverse economic conditions in Europe and pointed to Greece and Spain in particular. The company said its total cigarette market in the European Union declined by 5.3 percent in the first quarter.
As far as consumer staples, those with the most exposure to Spain, Greece and to a lesser extent the U.K., face the strongest headwinds, and the reason is that the consumers are under the most pressure, said Morningstar equities analyst Philip Gorham.
Gorham, who covers the consumer staples industry, said he expects to see trading down in markets like Spain and Greece.
In Spain for example, unemployment of 20 percent has really changed the way consumption takes place in certain industries, he said. I think we're going to see continued deep declines in certain areas and certain markets.
Last week, Europe's biggest engineering conglomerate Siemens
The tailwind for the economic recovery is likely over. Now, increased efforts are required for continued growth, Siemen's finance director, Joe Kaeser, said at an investor event in Shanghai.
Dutch company Philips Electronics
For U.S. companies, the impact of any pullback in demand abroad could hurt company margins by impacting pricing power, as excess supply must be absorbed elsewhere globally.
Executives at Tempe, Ariz.-based First Solar Inc
First Solar's chief executive, Rob Gillette, said during a conference call that the company expects European industry demand to go through a period of adjustment in the second and third quarters.
Among other technology companies with heavy exposure to Europe are San Rafael, Calif.-based Autodesk Inc
Over the last decade, many U.S. companies, to their benefit, have expanded internationally, said Bespoke's Hickey. The international arena has had more of an impact than say 10 years ago.
What is striking is that the arbitrage of the consumer is in favor of our category, which is not high-priced, pretty affordable, said Hubert Patricot, president of the company's European group, in a conference call in late April. Despite the difficult economic environment, consumers continue to favor our category.
(Reporting by Ashley Lau; Editing by Andrew Hay)