Now that we are almost through second-quarter earnings season, we thought we'd make an attempt at drawing some conclusions. According to Bloomberg, 87 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported at this point.
Seventy-two percent of those companies beat the consensus estimate for earnings per share, and 56 percent beat the consensus estimate for revenue. Those results compare with 3 percent and 49 percent, respectively, in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the average beat relative to estimates has been 2.7 percent for EPS and 0.4 percent for sales.
In the first quarter, the average beat on EPS was 5 percent, while the average revenue miss was -0.5 percent. None of these numbers strike me as wildly surprising. As is usually the case, companies were able to beat the conservative EPS guidance provided by management. But revenues are coming in modestly ahead of expectations for the second quarter versus modestly below in the first.
(Read more: Investors plug back in after Tesla earnings surprise)
The more interesting conclusions might be gleaned looking at year-over-year growth in earnings per share and revenue.
According to Bloomberg, average EPS growth for S&P 500 companies that have reported so far is 4.1 percent. It was 1.9 percent in the first quarter. Average revenue growth has been 1.7 percent, versus -0.8 percent in the first quarter.
On the surface, it appears that growth in both EPS and revenue accelerated sequentially in the second quarter. This is obviously a good thing, but we wanted to better understand the source of this acceleration. Therefore, we looked at the growth rates in EPS and revenue by industry sector. The tables below show that data.