Led largely by major banks, last week kicked off the third-quarter earnings report season. By the end of the week, 8% of S&P 500 companies had reported calendar third-quarter results. Of these firms, 80% topped earnings estimates and 83% beat anticipated revenue levels. So far, companies are reporting earnings that are 14.7% above earnings and 3.0% above anticipated revenues. According to FactSet, the blended earnings growth rate for third-quarter S&P 500 earnings currently is 30.0% versus the 27.5% expected at the end of the quarter.

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