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S&P earnings expected to grow in Q4 for the first time since 2018

Reproduced from FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Given the way S&P 500 earnings have beaten estimates over the past few years it is likely the index will report earnings growth in the fourth quarter — the first and only quarter of growth last year.

Between the lines: John Butters, FactSet's senior earnings analyst, said in a note that on average nearly three-quarters of S&P 500 companies' actual earnings have exceeded estimates by about 5%.

  • "As a result, from the end of the quarter through the end of the earnings season, the earnings growth rate has typically increased by 3.6 percentage points on average (over the past five years) due to the number and magnitude of positive earnings surprises."

Therefore, Butters estimates, it's likely actual Q4 earnings will come in at around 2.1%.

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