Give me a beat!
After worries that companies would log a year-over-year drop in earnings in the second quarter, it actually looks like a modest gain will be achieved. This as some 70 percent of the S&P 500 companies that have reported have beaten their earnings estimates.
As a rule, companies do tend to surpass analyst estimates, but this year's beat percentage is a bit higher than the 63 percent average compiled by Thomson Reuters.
And as one might expect in any given quarter, some companies have blown the doors off of analyst expectations. The following 10 companies have reported more than double the earnings per share that analysts had expected.
The most impressive was Electronic Arts, which reported earnings of 15 cents per share—dramatically above the few pennies analyst had been expecting.
Interestingly, this is the eighth straight quarter that EA has beaten consensus earnings estimates by more than a dime. And Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter says that's no coincidence.
"They consistently guide low and crush," he told CNBC. "They have a great CFO in Blake Jorgensen, and that's just how he rolls."
In addition to issuing predictably low guidance, the company also has some powerful levers to pull in terms of managing expenses, Pachter said, including great flexibility in booking marketing and research and development costs than most companies enjoy.
And with 312 million shares outstanding, 10 cents per share sums up to a mere $31 million—a workable amount for the company to scrape together by simply "tweaking their marketing spend."
Perhaps that's why the stock didn't surge after reporting results.
"The problem is that the beat was already baked into the price," said Erin Gibbs of S&P Capital IQ, who goes on to note that the stock remains "highly valued."
Just because it consistently beats estimates, "that doesn't mean it's a buy," Gibbs concludes.
Beyond EA, the list of the biggest beaters is largely dominated by energy companies, with Noble Energy, Pioneer Natural Resources, EOG Resources, Newfield Exploration and Transocean all crushing analysts' meager expectations, according to data provided by S&P Capital IQ.
On the other hand, the company that missed earnings by the largest margin was also in the energy sector—Range Resources.