Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Earnings Estimate Accuracy

Earnings season is set to pick up again starting next week, and it's an important season because earnings growth has begun to slow in recent quarters even as the market has risen.  Analysts are expecting S&P 500 earnings to rise to $103 this year from $97 last year.  

Below is a chart of analyst expectations for S&P 500 earnings vs. realized earnings.  (The gray line shows the evolution of what analysts are forecasting for year end earnings throughout the year.)  No surprise, analysts' mid year forecasts rarely end up being correct, but eyeballing the data, when earnings estimates are below their highest annual levels this late in the year, realized earnings typically end up disappointing early year estimates.

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