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Earnings scorecard

The headline report for 1Q24 corporate earnings so far shows a 7% surprise above expectations, but the average is once again misleading. In the chart below, you can see the difference between the 250 largest firms in thr index and the smallest half. The second bucket has not grown at all for the last 2 years. It’s the biggest firms and in particular the largest 5 ones that are “painting the tape”. And those results are somehow manipulated by the amount of share buybacks that are being announced and executed. Those buybacks have reduced the amount of stock available, increasing earnings per share.

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