Scoping Out First-Quarter Earnings

Despite a downward trend in forecasts, it's not yet time for investors to pull the plug on equities

The week of Apr. 10 is when the earnings-reporting season for the first quarter begins in earnest. As seen in the table , which compares Standard & Poor's equity analysts' estimates on December 31, 2005, with those as of April 4, 2006, S&P believes companies in the S&P 500 will have increased operating results by 11%, driven by above-market gains for the Energy, Health Care, and Industrial sectors.

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