Of the 121 companies that have released earnings since the Q4 2013 reporting period began, 68% have beaten bottom-line EPS estimates. Below is a chart of the earnings beat rate on a quarterly basis going back to 2001. As you can see, 68% would be a strong reading if it holds. So far this season, companies have done a pretty good job of posting better than expected EPS numbers. Keep in mind that it's still very early, though. More than 1,000 companies are set to report over the next few weeks, so the beat rate could fluctuate a lot.
Top-line sales numbers have been a little less rosy than the more-easily manipulated bottom-line numbers. As shown in the second chart below, 57% of companies have beaten revenue estimates so far this season. While this isn't a stellar reading, it is better than all but one of the earnings seasons we've had since the start of 2012.
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