The third quarter earnings season unofficially comes to an end on Thursday when Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) reports earnings before the open. So far this earnings season, more than 2,000 companies have reported their quarterly numbers, and our job here is to identify the reports that look the best.
One way that we narrow our list down is to look for earnings “triple plays.” Our long-term readers know how much we like triple plays, but for those that haven’t heard of the term, we came up with it back in the mid-2000s for companies that beat their earnings estimates, beat their revenue estimates and also raise guidance. We consider triple play stocks to be the cream of the crop of earnings season, and we are constantly finding new long-term buy opportunities from this basket of names each quarter.
So far this earnings season there have been 136 triple plays, which is a very high number compared to most earnings seasons. There have been 58 inverse triple plays, which are stocks that miss both earnings and revenue estimates and also lower guidance, so triple plays have outnumbered their opposites by more than two to one.
Below is a list of a few key S&P 500 "triple play" earnings reports from this season. At the far right of the table, we provide the one-day change that each stock experienced in reaction to its report. Some of the more notable names on the list include Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT) and Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN).