By the Numbers

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

SectorEPS Growth
Consumer Discretionary7.90%
Financials5.40%
Industrials1.90%
Technology1.00%
Consumer Staples0.60%
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

TickerCompany NameEPS EstEPS Act% Difference
ETFCETRADE FIN.0.0820.1359%
BTUPEABODY ENERGY0.330.5155%
SNDKSANDISK0.3310.4845%
LENLENNAR0.2830.441%
TRVTRAVELERS1.6052.2238%

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

Top 5 Misses

TickerCompany NameEPS EstEPS Act% Difference
FHNFIRST HORIZON0.1880.1-47%
KMIKINDER MORGAN0.2640.19-28%
GOOGGOOGLE10.6519.03-15%
BHIBAKER HUGHES0.8360.73-13%
MOSMOSAIC1.1531.01-12%

Thomson Reuters Research Analyst Greg Harrison contributed to this story.