Market Insider

Elevated expectations for Apple ahead of profits

Apple earnings: Here's what to watch

Earnings season gathers steam this week, with Apple among the 142 companies slated to release fourth-quarter results.

Fourth-quarter earnings are expected to grow 3.4 percent over the same period a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters.

"So far, and in line with normal trends, more companies are surprising on the upside than on the downside," David Kelly, chief global strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds, wrote in emailed commentary.

"However, analyst expectations have been marked down relentlessly over the past few months due to the impact of a higher dollar and cheaper oil," Kelly said.

Of the 95 S&P 500 companies that reported fourth-quarter earnings as of Monday morning, 71.6 percent beat estimates, 9.5 percent met expectations and 18.9 percent missed, according to David Aurelio, a research analyst at Thomson Reuters.

Typically, or since 1994, 63 percent of companies beat estimates, 16 percent match and 21 percent miss, he noted.