Earnings season is quickly winding down, and despite the wild stock market swings in recent weeks, corporate America has provided a steady stream of strong earnings to counter the doom-and-gloom headlines.

According to Capital IQ Consensus Estimates, S&P 500 earnings per share during the second quarter have grown 19.1% year-over-year, with 458 companies of the index reporting. Nearly 70% of those companies have beaten estimates: Leading the way is information technology and, surprisingly, consumer discretionary.

Consumer Discretionary Comes On Strong

During last week's earnings roundup, the focus was squarely on retailers, and they didn't disappoint.

A diverse group of companies beat analyst estimates, illustrating that the consumer is indeed alive and well despite what you may have heard over the last two weeks.

Wal-Mart's (WMT) earnings per share jumped 15% from last year to $1.12, beating the Capital IQ consensus estimate of $1.08. Home improvement expert Home Depot (HD), teen retailer Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), and PC maker Dell (DELL) also topped estimates.

This continues a trend of strong earnings from consumer discretionary and consumer staples companies this earnings season.

Sector
Above
Match
Below
Surprise
Reported
Index
Consumer Discretionary
78%
9%
13%
9.4%
76
79
Consumer Staples
72%
11%
17%
1.6%
36
41
Energy
71%
0%
29%
6.9%
41
41
Financials
67%
9%
25%
12.4%
81
81
Healthcare
76%
16%
8%
5.0%
50
52
Industrials
66%
9%
26%
3.7%
58
60
Information Technology
81%
8%
11%
12.7%
72
75
Materials
63%
7%
30%
1.2%
30
30
Telecom
38%
25%
38%
(4.6%)
8
8
Utilities
55%
12%
33%
2.6%
33
33
S&P 500
69%
9%
21%
7.2%
458
500
Source: Capital IQ Consensus Estimates, a division of Standard & Poor's.

What to Watch for This Week
Medtronic (MDT) will give us a peek into the health of medical devices when it reports earnings this week. Capital IQ is expecting earnings of $0.79 per share, down slightly from the $0.80 in EPS the company reported last year.

We also get another look at how the top and bottom ends of the consumer market are faring when discounter Big Lots (BIG) and premium jeweler Tiffany & Co. (TIF) report. Capital IQ consensus estimates see earnings of $0.44 and $0.69 per share, respectively, for the two companies.

Be sure to check in for our take on these earnings reports as they're released this week and we wind down a wild earnings season.

Motley Fool contributor Travis Hoium does not have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Medtronic and Wal-Mart Stores. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Home Depot, Dell, and Wal-Mart Stores, as well as creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart Stores.




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19 Comments

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lpi2007

If that's true, then why the hell are they laying everyone off... The only ones that are making money is the corporate thieves..... Everywhere you look you see empty houses and businesses.. This is only good news for wall street and not the American People.... Shadows of Kentucky,,, well Google it.....

August 23 2011 at 6:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rgkarasiewicz

Corporate America has been well insulated from this Depression, and the reason is that they can't lose. They are assured of solid consistent earnings (irregardless of consumer spending) since the products that they manufacture overseas in those rat trap sweat shops are produced so cheaply.

August 23 2011 at 6:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
k4jlp

BS
Most consumers wallets are CLOSED until Congress figures out that energy, out of pocket health care, food, insurance have TAKEN ALL of our left over income. Corporate America is setting on TRILLIONS while I have 270.00 dollars left over after all the bills are paid. TOTAL OUT OF TOUCH IDIOTS....PAY BACK IS HELL, YOU WATCH.

August 23 2011 at 5:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BABIN

USA Consumers is not ''that'' alive....last time USA Cunsumers are real alive is around end of 70'is after that all is just CREDIT which USA Consumers don't pay in full every month othrwise if this not true USA Consumers wil not have this day's $2,4 Trillion personal debt without house debt...How in god sake can count spending for most of stuff from which is not pay in full end of month...enough lies just put real numbers from spending and count ONLY transactions with cash and with payed in full end of month from ''plastics''...and let's see after that buying power of USA Consumers...AMEN.....

August 23 2011 at 4:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bdyftns

Maybe not, but I'm sure he has better grammar than you.

August 23 2011 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kcoryms

That's odd. The CEO for Wal-Mart seemed to have a different take on consumer spending at their U. S. stores. I guess he don't know what he's talking about.

August 22 2011 at 11:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jshedl10411

I guess the 70% employed can support the 30% UNEMPLOYED!

August 22 2011 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rslpilot

Nothing to se here folks, all is well. We can all sleep easy, Arianna said so. I feel better. Obama is a shoe in for re-election. Stupid people.

August 22 2011 at 10:24 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Tom DeCelle

Hate people who spew neg energy, they wonder why they only have 40 cents in there checking

August 22 2011 at 10:11 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
rtgarton

God I hope he isnt serious about running again.

August 22 2011 at 10:04 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply