A Look Ahead: This Week's Earnings Report

Earnings season has officially kicked into high gear: 39 companies have reported so far, with the S&P 500 reporting an earnings per share (EPS) surprise of 6.8%.

According to institutional data provider Capital IQ, the best surprises include increases in financials at 17.9%, consumer discretionary at 10.3%, and materials at 3.7%.

One of the biggest winners so far is First Horizon National (FHN), which beat estimates by 1,400%, and Alcoa (AA) at 146%. Last week, Google (GOOG) managed to report amazing earnings of $8.74 per share, far above estimates of $7.82. The search engine giant continues to wow and reward investors.

Here are more highlights as reported by Capital IQ Consensus Estimate:

Sector

Above

Match

Below

Surprise

Reported

Index

Consumer discretionary

79%

14%

7%

10.3%

14

79

Consumer staples

50%

17%

33%

0.8%

6

41

Energy

-

-

-

0%

0

41

Financials

83%

0%

17%

17.9%

6

81

Health care

-

-

-

0%

0

52

Industrials

50%

50%

0%

1.6%

2

60

Information technology

78%

11%

11%

(0.2%)

9

75

Materials

50%

0%

50%

3.7%

2

30

Telecom

-

-

-

0%

0

8

Utilities

-

-

-

0%

0

33

S&P 500

72%

13%

15%

6.8%

39

500


Source: Capital IQ Consensus Estimate, a division of Standard & Poor's

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This week, more than 100 companies are expected to report earnings. Highlights include IBM (IBM), which reported last night with earnings of $3.09 per share that beat the estimate of $3.03, Apple (AAPL) with an estimate of $5.86, and General Electric (GE) with an estimate of $0.32.

We'll bring you the latest on all of these as they report. In the meantime, investors in these stocks should read the full quarterly reports to see how each company is performing and learn what management thinks about the current industry climate. These companies' conference call transcripts can also add more depth to your research.

Jordan DiPietro owns no shares of the companies mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of IBM, Apple, and Google. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and Google as well as creating a bull call spread position in Apple.