First Quarter Earnings: Profits Stay On Track

Economic recovery continues, and so does the recovery in company earnings. In BUSINESS WEEK's flash report of corporate profits, sales were up 6% and profits increased 11%, extending the trend of the past four quarters. There's still no meteoric burst of revenue growth, and prospects for such an explosion seem more and more unlikely, given the present environment of low inflation and interest rates. More substantial returns are visible once IBM is taken out of the mix; earnings would have increased 19%, and sales would have inched up 7%. How did Wall Street analysts do in their projections? The expectations proved right on target: The 71 aggregate earnings per share predicted at mid-quarter was one cent more than the 70 actually reported.

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