It’s not just stock prices and FICO scores that are hitting record highs. In the first quarter of this year, 403 of the stocks in the S&P 500 delivered earnings higher than Wall Street analysts had forecast — a record that was promptly broken in the second quarter, when 407 stocks achieved that feat.
The big picture: Earnings beats are always more the rule than the exception, even during bear markets. But these levels are unprecedented.
The big question: How are so many companies managing to beat expectations, quarter in and quarter out?
- The strong economy, combined with tax-cut revenues, certainly helps.
- Companies announce earnings guidance figures they know they can beat, in a sign that they're feeling very little pressure from Wall Street that their profits aren't high enough.
The bottom line: Wall Street is enjoying a rare period of being very happy with the companies it invests in and the amount of money they're making.