So far this earnings season, 68% of the companies in the broad Standard & Poor's 500 index that have reported results for the fourth quarter of 2012 have beat Wall Street's expectations, according to Thomson Reuters.
Typically, 62% of the companies beat expectations. (As of early Friday, 147 of S&P companies, fewer than one-third of the benchmark index's component firms, had reported.)
That should be promising to investors. Indeed, strong earnings helped push the S&P 500 above 1,500 points Thursday, its first time above that threshold since 2007.
The latest analyst estimates indicate that the S&P 500 companies are on track to report 2.9% earnings growth on average for the fourth quarter, compared with a year earlier, according to Thomson Reuters.