Just over 200 companies have reported earnings since the quarterly reporting period began two Thursdays ago. As shown below, the percentage of companies beating bottom-line earnings estimates so far has been relatively weak at just 57%. Below is a look at the historical quarterly earnings beat rate since 1998. The average over this entire time period has been 62%, so this season’s reading is already 5 percentage points below average.
While the bottom-line EPS beat rate has been weak this season, the top-line revenue beat rate has been downright abysmal. As shown below, just 41.5% of the 212 companies that have reported this season have beaten revenue numbers. It’s much harder for companies to mess with their numbers to meet top-line numbers than it is to meet bottom-line numbers, and this season’s top-line beat rate is tracking horribly. There’s still a couple thousand companies left to report, so it’s not a complete picture by any means, but the season is not off to a good start.
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