Apr 30, 2021 - Economy & Business

Q1 corporate earnings are roaring past expectations

Illustration of arms hugging a pile of cash.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In another sign of the coming economic boom, first-quarter corporate earnings are continuing to blast through expectations.

Why it matters: The rising fortunes of big companies are another element — along with trillions in government spending, vaccine-related reopenings and Fed policy — helping create what could be a record year of economic growth in the U.S.

By the numbers: Of the first 260 S&P 500 companies that reported earnings, 220 have beaten expectations, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The expectation-beating companies include some of the world's biggest like:

  • Apple "reported double-digit growth in every single one of its product categories," CNBC summed up.
  • Visa was boosted by growing payment and transaction volume.
  • Alphabet beat expectations on 50% growth in YouTube revenue.
  • JPMorgan benefited as the growing economy reduced bad-loan risk and investment banking fees grew.
  • Procter & Gamble exceeded expectations as people kept buying cleaning products and started buying beauty products again, CNBC reported.
  • Caterpillar beat as sales of construction and mining equipment rose.
  • Intel benefited from increased sales of laptop and desktop computers.
  • Coca-Cola said global demand had reached pre-pandemic levels.

Yes, but: All of these earnings reports are being measured against the first quarter of 2020, just as the shutdowns of the pandemic began to take hold, and these gains are happening during reopenings that are extremely difficult to forecast.

Go deeper: Tech giants show no sign of slowing down

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