To date, 89% of the companies in the S&P 500 have reported actual results for Q4 2018
The percentage of companies reporting actual EPS above estimates (69%) is below the five-year average. In aggregate, companies are reporting earnings that are 3.5% above the estimates, which is also below the five-year average. In terms of revenues, the percentage of companies reporting actual revenues above estimates (61%) is slightly above the five-year average. In aggregate, companies are reporting revenues that are 1.1% above the estimates, which is also above the five-year average.
Positive earnings surprises reported by companies in multiple sectors were responsible for the small increase in the earnings growth rate during the week. If 13.1% is the actual growth rate for the quarter, it will mark the first time the index has not reported earnings growth above 20% since Q4 2017. However, it will also mark the fifth straight quarter of double-digit earnings growth for the index.
Looking ahead, analysts predict a decline in earnings for the first quarter (-2.7%) of 2019 and low single-digit growth in earnings for the second (0.7%) and third (2.2%) quarters of 2019. The forward 12-month P/E ratio is 16.2, which is below the 5-year average but above the 10-year average. During the week of February 25th, 39 S&P 500 companies (including one Dow 30 component) are scheduled to report results for the fourth quarter.