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Q3 Earnings Preview:  Top Expectations for Growth

Thursday, 1 Oct 2009 | 7:37 AM ET

October is here and the kickoff to earnings season is just around the corner with Alcoa set to report next week. Here are the Top 20 stocks in the S&P 500 with the greatest expected year-on-year analyst growth forecasts.

Keep in mind that with the financial crisis in full swing by the end of the third quarter 2008, many S&P companies were already showing negative earnings and analysts had a tough go at correctly estimating with precision. Perhaps now that the markets seem to have settled down a bit, the analyst numbers will be meaningful once again. At the end of Q2, earnings were down 27.3% from a year prior. First Call consensus data from Thomson Reuters is currently expecting a decline of 24.7% for Q3 2009. The Financials and Consumer Discretionary sectors are the only two S&P sectors expected to show growth overall this quarter.

>> October: Trick or Treat for the Markets
>> Top 20 Stocks With Biggest Expected Price Gains

The leader of the Top 20, Whole Foods managed to eke out an EPS of $.01 per share in Q3 of 2008 (Fiscal Q4 for WFMI). Consensus estimates for Fiscal Q4 2009 for WFMI are for $0.18 per share, a Y/Y gain of 1706%. Of course, a one penny denominator helps too. Below is the complete Top 20 from ThomsonReuters based on absolute value of estimated EPS gains compared to Q3 2008 actuals:

  Price   Change %Change
S&P 500
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AA
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ETFC
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DHI
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LM
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SNDK
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HIG
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GAS
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ALL
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L
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CRM
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TRV
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SBUX
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AFF
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GS
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JPM MLP ETN
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