S&P 500 companies' aggregate operating earnings for the third quarter gained 19.9% from the comparable third quarter in 2005, marking an unprecedented 18th consecutive quarter of double-digit operating gains for the index, based on year-over-year comparisons, according to a news release from Standard & Poor's Index Services.
The gains for the third quarter were broad, with seven of the 10 business sectors within the S&P 500 posting double-digit increases in operating earnings, he said. By contrast, the energy sector dominated S&P 500 operating earnings in the second quarter.
S&P projects a 9% gain in year-over-year operating earnings for the fourth quarter, Howard Silverblatt, S&P senior index analyst, said in an interview.
The previous record for consecutive year-over-year quarterly double-digit gains was 13 quarters ended Dec. 31, 1995, Mr. Silverblatt said, citing statistics dating to 1936.
Separately, Bob Doll, vice chairman and global CIO of equities of BlackRock, said in an investment analysis report today that if expectations hold, fourth-quarter earnings growth would be less than 10%. "In our opinion, 2007 earnings growth is likely to be even lower," Mr. Doll said in his report. "Currently, we are expecting growth levels to be around the 5% mark for next year."