With more than half the S&P 500 companies having reported fourth-quarter earnings, the earnings recession is now set to end. FactSet’s blended earnings growth estimate, which includes already reported results and consensus analyst estimates of companies that haven’t reported, is now showing a 0.09% gain from a year ago, compared with a negative 2.0% at the start of the earnings-reporting season. If the final results are positive, a three-quarter streak of negative growth would be snapped, and it only takes two-straight declines to define a recession. There’s still a long way to go, as 275 of 505 S&P 500 companies, or 54.5%, have reported results, according to FactSet. The best sector performer has been utilities with 19.0% earnings growth, while energy has been the worst performer with a 42.7% decline. The S&P 500 gained 0.9% in morning trading, and has tacked on 3.0% this year.
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