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Victor Niederhoffer

3Q Earnings: Perception and Propaganda

Based on what you read, what percentage of S&P 500 companies would you guess beat third-quarter earnings estimates and comparables so far?  The answer is 66% and 90%, according to this fairly unbiased summary from Bloomberg. It's a good exercise in perception and propaganda to try to systemize the factors that made your estimate and the public so pessimistically biased.

Third Quarter of '04 S&P 500 Earnings Snapshot as of Oct. 20
2004-10-20 11:28 (New York)
By Wendy Soong

 Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- The following tables summarize the latest quarterly earnings for companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index that have reported as of Oct. 20.

Profit figures are based on income from continuing operations excluding some gains and losses. The share-weighted percentage changes are year-over-year comparisons. Earnings surprises are based on estimates provided by Thomson Financial.

S&P 500 Universe:
Number of Share-Weighted
Companies % Change

Total reported Q3/04: 152 15.4%
Higher EPS 120 23.4%
Lower EPS 29 -3.8%
Unchanged 3 0.0%

Comparable Q3/03: 129 15.5%
End of Q3/03: 498 20.3%
End of Q2/04: 497 29.8%

S&P 500 Index EPS with 152/500 companies reported: $16.59

Earnings Surprises (based on First Call estimates):
Q3/04 Q3/03
Positive Surprises: 92/152 = 60.5% 318/497 = 64.0%
0% Surprises: 30/152 = 19.7% 102/497 = 20.5%
Negative Surprises: 30/152 = 19.7% 77/497 = 15.5%

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