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As we put a fork in the S&P 500’s Q3 earnings, our snail trail is now decidedly pointing south. However, the kink you see in Chart 1 should not be viewed as an EPS collapse. An accounting sleight of hand from Berkshire Hathaway—R.I.P. Charlie Munger—shaved off just under $3/share in EPS for the index. If that were added back, the quarterly estimate of $55 would be pretty much unchanged since the start of the summer.

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Phil Segner looks at the outsized contribution of the largest seven stocks in the S&P 500 on both the upside and the downside.

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A little over half of the S&P 500 reported earnings for calendar Q3-23 in October. Bottom-up operating EPS estimates for the quarter have remained basically flat since May. This is a positive development given the proclivity of EPS estimates to erode over time. We should note, however, that longer term, the decline in estimates for Q3 has been well above average—diminishing by 14% since April of 2022. If there will be another reporting window pop in EPS estimates for Q3 like we saw for Q1 and Q2, it will have to come in November.

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