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Don't Bash the Bears, Everyone Was Wrong About 2010

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Rose | Mueller | Stock4B | Getty Images

My friend Eddie Elfenbein has some fun taking jabs at the perma-bears today, pointing out that earnings for 2010 were way better than expected.

"The numbers are almost complete. According to the latest figures, the S&P 500 earned $83.78 for 2010.

I bring this up because that number would have been considered insanely bullish a few months ago. In June 2009, I noted that Wall Street was expecting earnings of $73.56. One commenter at Seeking Alpha wrote “There is No Way the S&P will earn $70+ in 2010.”

In May 2009, David Rosenberg had an S&P 500 target of 600 to 840 based on earnings of $50 to $70. In January of 2010, the bears were ready to mock the bullish forecasts of Wall Street which turned out to be too low."

I point this out because the perma-bears are so rarely held accountable.

That may be true. But it's also clear that by the middle of 2010, the bulls were charging and got out ahead of the market.

"In January the aggregate estimate compiled by StarMine Professional, a wonderful analytical tool offered by ThomsonReuters, measured estimated earnings per share for the index at about $79. In late April, the number had risen to about $86, and today, with just a few earnings reports in, estimated earnings stands at $90," John Keefe wrote at CBS MoneyWatch back in July of 2010.

So it wasn't just the perma-bears that had it wrong.

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