So far this earnings season, 200 companies in the S&P 500 index reported Q1 2012 results. Of those firms, 75 percent beat their estimates, while 15 percent missed and 10 percent matched. In a typical quarter (since 1994), 62 percent of companies beat estimates, 18 percent match and 20 percent miss estimates, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters.The current earnings surprise factor stands at 12.1 percent (7.5 percent when Apple is excluded), while the revenue is 6.6 percent. Compared to the same period a year ago, financials and utility companies have taken the lead, showing EPS growth of 17 percent and 14 percent, respectively.
The biggest surprise factor came from companies in the telecom and technology sectors.
In absolute dollar terms, Apple, once again, had the largest surprise, reporting Q2 2012 revenue of $39.2 billion, a 58.9 percent increase from the same period a year ago. In terms of earnings per share, DR Horton had the largest percent surprise, followed by Lennar.
To the downside, Bank of America had the largest percent miss in earnings per share, followed by Hasbro.
Thomson Reuters Research Analyst Greg Harrison contributed to this story.