By BERNARD CONDON and PAUL WISEMAN
AP Business Writers
(AP:NEW YORK) When it comes to happy surprises on Wall Street, it's hard to get better than this.
U.S. companies made more money in the first three months this year than almost anyone expected. As earnings reports roll in, they're beating the estimates of stock analysts at a rate not seen in more than a decade.
Yet stocks have languished. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has fallen about 2 percent in April. So why aren't investors impressed?
For starters, earnings season has just begun. The real test is the next two weeks, when more than 300 companies in the S&P 500 report. Apple, the most valuable company in the world, reports Tuesday.
Topping estimates is no great feat. Publicly traded companies do it almost every quarter. They tell analysts to expect a number the companies know will be low. Then they can enjoy a "pop" in their stock price when _ surprise! _ they clear the hurdle.
And this quarter, it's not much of a hurdle. Just a month ago, companies got analysts to expect first-quarter earnings to grow so little you'd need an electron microscope to spot the rise _ just 0.5 percent. Continue reading "Why investors aren't impressed with profits"