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Q4 earnings season has been fun so far. According to data compiled by FactSet, 401 of the S&P 500 companies have reported quarterly earnings, and 68 per cent have beaten Wall Street analysts’ expectations. While this is slightly lower than the trailing four quarter beat rate of 73 per cent, it was still a welcome relief for the bulls.All in, Q4 earnings are expected to have grown 5.5 per cent.
Unfortunately, earnings growth isn’t expected to be the story in Q1 2012. Last week we ran a FactSet chart showing how Q1 earnings growth expectations had tumbled to 0.0 per cent.
Well, now earnings are expected to decline 0.2 per cent year-over-year in Q1.
So is it all over? Is the earnings growth story done?
Fortunately, analysts don’t think so. According to FactSet’s data, Q2 and Q3 earnings are expected to grow 6.9 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively.
In case you were wondering, here’s a sector breakdown of analysts’ current Q1 earnings growth expectations and how they’ve changed since December 31:
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