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Nov. 13, 2017, 10:47 a.m. EST

Best and worst earnings surprises for the S&P 500 this quarter — newly updated

Good or bad surprises might prompt you to reconsider stocks you own

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By Philip van Doorn, MarketWatch


Getty Images, Bloomberg
Amazon posted one of the biggest positive earnings surprises this season, while General Electric was a huge disappointment.

(Updates story originally published Nov. 8 with earnings and sales results reported by companies through Nov. 10.)

It’s easy for me to complain each quarter about how Wall Street misleads investors with its game of “beating” earnings estimates. But there’s no question that major earnings (or sales) surprises can drive big moves in share prices.

That’s when it might be a good idea to reevaluate your opinion of a stock. Should you sell after an earnings surprise causes shares to soar? Has a stock fallen too far after bad news, creating a buying opportunity?

We’ve put together four lists of companies that have posted major surprises this earnings season.

First, some points about the data: Not every company has a fiscal quarter that matches the calendar quarter. It can seem that it’s always earnings season. So we had to make a decision on the earliest fiscal quarter-end date to include in this data set. Through Nov. 10, 458 of the companies in the S&P 500 Index /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.39%  had announced results for fiscal quarters ending Aug. 26 or later.

One more decision we made is that companies that were expected to lose money during the quarter were only included in the “positive surprise” list if they showed a profit.

Four lists of surprises

Earnings up

Among the 458 S&P 500 companies that announced their results through Nov. 10, here are the 10 that surprised analysts the most, to the upside, for earnings per share this earnings season:

Company Ticker Industry Consensus quarterly EPS estimate before report Actual EPS from company press release Surprise Total return - Oct. 10 through Nov. 10 Total return - year-to-date
Monstanto Co. Chemicals -$0.41 $0.20 N/A -1% 15%
SL Green Realty Corp. /zigman2/quotes/208985878/composite SLG Real Estate Investment Trusts -$0.04 $0.40 N/A -4% -5%
EQT Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209305691/composite EQT Oil and Gas Production -$0.03 $0.12 N/A 4% 0%
Apache Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200648444/composite APA Oil and Gas Production -$0.02 $0.04 N/A 5% -29%
Vornado Realty Trust /zigman2/quotes/207195881/composite VNO Real Estate Investment Trusts $0.03 $0.36 1,085% -3% -8%
Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN Internet Retail $0.07 $0.52 687% 14% 50%
Prologis Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200785374/composite PLD Real Estate Investment Trusts $0.35 $1.63 364% 2% 28%
News Corp. Class A /zigman2/quotes/201755982/composite NWSA Publishing/ Newspapers $0.02 $0.07 207% 12% 34%
News Corp. Class B /zigman2/quotes/204787942/composite NWS Publishing/ Newspapers $0.02 $0.07 207% 12% 34%
Fifth Third Bancorp /zigman2/quotes/207561596/composite FITB Regional Banks $0.48 $1.35 183% -3% 4%
Incyte Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204510994/composite INCY Biotechnology $0.06 $0.17 164% -9% 4%
Source: FactSet

You can click on the tickers for company profiles, news, estimates, charts, ratings and financials.

The table has 11 stocks listed, because there are two common share classes for News Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201755982/composite NWSA -1.46%   /zigman2/quotes/204787942/composite NWS -0.86%  included in the S&P 500. News Corp. is the parent company of Dow Jones, which owns MarketWatch.

Earnings down

Here are the 10 S&P 500 companies that surprised analysts the most with lower-than-expected earnings per share so far this season:

Company Ticker Industry Consensus quarterly EPS estimate before report Actual EPS from company press release Surprise Total return - Oct. 10 through Nov. 10 Total return - year-to-date
Brighthouse Financial Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205830158/composite BHF Life/ Health Insurance $2.14 -$5.64 N/A -6% N/A
HCP Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205497622/composite HCP Real Estate Investment Trusts $0.15 -$0.02 N/A 4% -4%
Digital Realty Trust Inc. /zigman2/quotes/206785129/composite DLR Real Estate Investment Trusts $0.36 -$0.02 N/A 1% 26%
American International Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203700638/composite AIG Property/ Casualty Insurance -$0.79 -$1.22 N/A 0% -4%
Mattel Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209819189/composite MAT Recreational Products $0.57 $0.09 -84% -6% -45%
Charter Communications Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201656355/composite CHTR Cable/ Satellite TV $0.98 $0.19 -81% -7% 18%
Scana Corp. Electric Utilities $1.23 $0.24 -80% -8% -38%
Baker Hughes, a GE Co. Oilfield Services/ Equipment $0.11 $0.05 -57% -5% -24%
Welltower Inc. Real Estate Investment Trusts $0.46 $0.20 -56% 1% 7%
General Electric Co. /zigman2/quotes/208495069/composite GE Industrial Conglomerates $0.49 $0.29 -41% -12% -33%
Source: FactSet

Also see: GE makes EPS guidance language simpler, but stock tumbles toward 5 1/2-year low

Sales up

Here are the 10 S&P 500 companies that surprised analysts the most with better-than-expected quarterly sales so far this season:

Company Ticker Industry Consensus quarterly sales estimate before report ($ million) Actual sales from company press release ($ million) Surprise Total return - Oct. 10 through Nov. 10 Total return - year-to-date
Chesapeake Energy Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201364537/composite CHK Oil and Gas Production $1,051 $1,943 85% 6% -41%
EOG Resources Inc /zigman2/quotes/204634330/composite EOG Oil and Gas Production $1,787 $2,645 48% 8% 4%
Hess Corp. /zigman2/quotes/203832174/composite HES Oil and Gas Production $1,231 $1,666 35% 6% -23%
Principal Financial Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201030797/composite PFG Financial Conglomerates $3,254 $3,978 22% 1% 20%
CF Industries Holdings Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209482112/composite CF Chemicals $736 $870 18% 8% 22%
Marathon Oil Corp. /zigman2/quotes/205031829/composite MRO Oil and Gas Production $1,061 $1,252 18% 15% -9%
DTE Energy Co. /zigman2/quotes/205073403/composite DTE Electric Utilities $2,803 $3,245 16% 3% 17%
Quanta Services Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203420082/composite PWR Engineering and Construction $2,322 $2,609 12% -4% 3%
Nvidia Corp. /zigman2/quotes/200467500/composite NVDA Semiconductors $2,365 $2,636 11% 14% 103%
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209237603/composite GS Investment Banks/ Brokers $7,534 $8,326 11% -3% 1%
Source: FactSet

Read: Nvidia shares close at record as data center, gaming sales drive price target hikes

Sales down

Here are the 10 S&P 500 companies that surprised analysts the most with lower-than-expected quarterly sales so far this season:

Company Ticker Industry Consensus quarterly sales estimates before report ($ million) Actual sales from company press release ($ million) Surprise Total return - Oct. 10 through Nov. 10 Total return - year-to-date
Alliant Energy Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201224484/composite LNT Electric Utilities $1,233 $907 -26% 4% 19%
Mattel Inc. /zigman2/quotes/209819189/composite MAT Recreational Products $1,805 $1,561 -14% -6% -45%
Duke Energy Corp. /zigman2/quotes/201480230/composite DUK Electric Utilities $7,467 $6,482 -13% 4% 18%
Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. /zigman2/quotes/201831904/composite PEG Electric Utilities $2,564 $2,278 -11% 5% 18%
Marathon Petroleum Corp. /zigman2/quotes/209634297/composite MPC Oil Refining/ Marketing $21,650 $19,386 -10% 10% 25%
Phillips 66 /zigman2/quotes/207448059/composite PSX Oil Refining/ Marketing $28,761 $25,929 -10% 0% 11%
PPL Corp. /zigman2/quotes/207772352/composite PPL Electric Utilities $2,017 $1,845 -9% -4% 10%
Prologis Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200785374/composite PLD Real Estate Investment Trusts $578 $531 -8% 2% 28%
Scana Corp. Electric Utilities $1,170 $1,076 -8% -11% -38%
American Electric Power Co. /zigman2/quotes/209801263/composite AEP Electric Utilities $4,456 $4,100 -8% 4% 23%
Source: FactSet

Also see: Hasbro makes an offer to buy rival Mattel

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$ 13.79
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$ 27.33
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3.51%
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$ 77.76
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N/A
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$ 13.47
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/zigman2/quotes/204787942/composite
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$ 13.79
-0.12 -0.86%
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52.22
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1.45%
Market Cap
$8.11 billion
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$354,893
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/zigman2/quotes/205830158/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 36.96
-0.05 -0.12%
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N/A
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$4.12 billion
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/zigman2/quotes/205497622/composite
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$ 37.39
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$ 132.98
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$ 53.97
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N/A
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2.37%
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$951,774
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/zigman2/quotes/209819189/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 11.23
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N/A
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N/A
Market Cap
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$ 440.05
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74.58
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N/A
Market Cap
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US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 8.96
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N/A
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0.45%
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$ 1.29
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N/A
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$ 64.44
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1.78%
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$ 64.95
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N/A
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1.54%
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$19.78 billion
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US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 56.00
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10.53
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3.93%
Market Cap
$15.61 billion
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$865,214
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US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 47.77
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2.51%
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$10.43 billion
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US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 11.30
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9.58
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1.77%
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$9.09 billion
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$2.46M
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/zigman2/quotes/205073403/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 127.34
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21.03
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2.97%
Market Cap
$23.34 billion
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$1.34M
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/zigman2/quotes/203420082/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 40.22
+0.92 +2.34%
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18.32
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0.40%
Market Cap
$5.72 billion
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$284,985
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/zigman2/quotes/200467500/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 190.49
-3.80 -1.96%
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Oct. 18, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
43.04
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0.34%
Market Cap
$116.01 billion
Rev. per Employee
$882,428
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US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 206.52
+0.06 +0.03%
Volume: 2.21M
Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
9.24
Dividend Yield
2.42%
Market Cap
$74.26 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.34M
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/zigman2/quotes/201224484/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 52.98
+0.24 +0.46%
Volume: 1.26M
Oct. 18, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
24.51
Dividend Yield
2.68%
Market Cap
$12.58 billion
Rev. per Employee
$909,781
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/zigman2/quotes/209819189/composite
US : U.S.: Nasdaq
$ 11.23
+0.11 +0.94%
Volume: 2.73M
Oct. 18, 2019 4:00p
P/E Ratio
N/A
Dividend Yield
N/A
Market Cap
$3.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
$167,069
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/zigman2/quotes/201480230/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 95.35
+0.18 +0.19%
Volume: 3.04M
Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
21.05
Dividend Yield
3.96%
Market Cap
$69.47 billion
Rev. per Employee
$815,112
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/zigman2/quotes/201831904/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 62.29
+0.24 +0.39%
Volume: 1.79M
Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
21.63
Dividend Yield
3.02%
Market Cap
$31.50 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.35M
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/zigman2/quotes/209634297/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 65.14
+1.04 +1.62%
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Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
14.11
Dividend Yield
3.25%
Market Cap
$42.88 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.59M
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/zigman2/quotes/207448059/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 107.20
-0.01 -0.0093%
Volume: 3.02M
Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
9.27
Dividend Yield
3.36%
Market Cap
$48.13 billion
Rev. per Employee
$7.84M
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/zigman2/quotes/207772352/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 32.03
-0.06 -0.19%
Volume: 6.17M
Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
13.18
Dividend Yield
5.15%
Market Cap
$23.13 billion
Rev. per Employee
$625,603
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/zigman2/quotes/200785374/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 89.61
+0.45 +0.50%
Volume: 1.73M
Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
32.02
Dividend Yield
2.37%
Market Cap
$56.56 billion
Rev. per Employee
$1.73M
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/zigman2/quotes/209801263/composite
US : U.S.: NYSE
$ 94.14
+1.14 +1.23%
Volume: 2.48M
Oct. 18, 2019 6:30p
P/E Ratio
23.57
Dividend Yield
2.85%
Market Cap
$46.49 billion
Rev. per Employee
$919,531
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Philip van Doorn covers various investment and industry topics. He has previously worked as a senior analyst at TheStreet.com. He also has experience in community banking and as a credit analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York.

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