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Here’s what we know so far:

Based on issuers reporting so far, S&P 500 (NYSEARCA:SPY) ‘as reported’ earnings for Q3 2011, have grown by 17.68%. Almost 70% of reporting issuers surprised the market, with most of those surprises beating expectations up to 20%.
24.2% of reporting issuers had negative surprises, with actual earnings coming under expectations by a less than 10%.

Below are a few reporting issuers of note:

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) reported Q3 2011 earnings of $0.14 vs. $0.22 consensus. This was a -36% surprise. As the kickoff to earnings season, this announcement didn’t seem to matter to the markets. Europe remains the driving force at the moment.

Pepsico Inc (NYSE:PEP) reported Q3 2011 earnings of $1.31 vs. $1.30 consensus. This 1% earnings surprise sent the stock up almost 3% on the day, as the company has managed to maintain pricing, grow volumes across certain divisions and expand overseas.
Infosys Ltd (NYSE:INFY) reported Q2 2012 earnings of $0.72 vs. $0.69 consensus, beating expectations by 4.2%. The stock of India’s number 2 IT company rose almost 7% today, despite the company cutting revenue growth forecasts. The company has benefited from an outsourcing trend, as Indian labor offers a cost advantage over global peers.
Host Hotels and Resorts (NYSE:HST) reported Q3 2011 earnings of $-0.05 vs. a consensus of $-0.04. The market reacted kindly to this in-line report, sending the stock up more than 4%. Year-over-year revenue growth hit 13.85% while year-over-year EPS growth was 45.45%.
Neustar Inc (NYSE:NSR) beat expectations by reporting Q3 2011 EPS of $0.51 vs. $0.44. This wide beat sent the communication company’s shares up over 7% on the day. The company also increased guidance and announced the repurchase of up to $250 million of its Class A common shares on an accelerated basis. This is just the beginning of earnings season so let's not get carried away. But if this trend continues, I suspect this could provide strong support for equity valuations. Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Disclaimer: Data sources: Bloomberg, CNBC. This is not advice. While Plan B Economics makes every effort to provide high quality information, the information is not guaranteed to be accurate and should not be relied on. Investing involves risk and you could lose all your money. Consult a professional advisor before making any investing decisions.
Source: What Recession? Earnings Season Starts With A Bang