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Biggest Q3 Earnings Surprises

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So far this earnings season, 123 companies in the S&P 500 index have reported results. Of those firms, 60 percent beat their estimates, 13 percent matched, and 27 percent missed.

Since 1994, in a typical quarter 62 percent of companies beat estimates, 18 percent match and 20 percent miss estimates, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters.

The current earnings surprise factor stands at -4.5 percent, while revenue is 0.3 percent.

In fact, revenue has been anemic, with 61 percent of companies missing analysts' expectations. In a typical quarter since 2000, 62 percent of companies beat, while 38 percent miss estimates.

EPS growth has also been mediocre. Compared to the same period a year ago, consumer discretionary and financial companies have taken the lead, showing EPS growth of 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

The biggest surprise factor came from the S&P discretionary and staples sectors.

Sector Growth Rate

Sector EPS Growth
Consumer Discretionary 7.90%
Financials 5.40%
Industrials 1.90%
Technology 1.00%
Consumer Staples 0.60%
Health Care -1.30%
Utilities -8.70%
Telecom Services -14.80%
Energy -18.70%
Materials -24.70%
Total -2.40%

In terms of earnings per share, ETrade Financial had the largest percent surprise, followed by Peabody Energy.

Top 5 Surprises

Ticker Company Name EPS Est EPS Act % Difference
ETFC ETRADE FIN. 0.082 0.13 59%
BTU PEABODY ENERGY 0.33 0.51 55%
SNDK SANDISK 0.331 0.48 45%
LEN LENNAR 0.283 0.4 41%
TRV TRAVELERS 1.605 2.22 38%

To the downside, First Horizon National had the largest percent miss in earnings per share, followed by Kinder Morgan.

Top 5 Misses

Ticker Company Name EPS Est EPS Act % Difference
FHN FIRST HORIZON 0.188 0.1 -47%
KMI KINDER MORGAN 0.264 0.19 -28%
GOOG GOOGLE 10.651 9.03 -15%
BHI BAKER HUGHES 0.836 0.73 -13%
MOS MOSAIC 1.153 1.01 -12%

Thomson Reuters Research Analyst Greg Harrison contributed to this story.