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Monday, May 18, 2009

Earnings season is over - who were the Growth Leaders?

Earnings season is pretty much over now. Many companies managed to beat drastically reduced expectations. As a result, many bears focused on poor earnings quality and the fact that the bar had been lowered so far, it was no great accomplishment to exceed expectations.

There were a number of stocks, though, that beat fair and square. We compiled a list of stocks that had increased earnings per share sequentially and year-over-year and increased revenues sequentially and year-over-year. We had 218 stocks that made the list. We then cross referenced this list with the S&P 500 and came up with the following list of 27 stocks:

SymbolName
AETAETNA INC.
AFLAFLAC INC.
BMCBMC SOFTWARE, INC.
GILDGilead Sciences, Inc.
ORLYO'Reilly Automotive, Inc.
PCLPLUM CREEK TIMBER COMPANY, INC.
PGNPROGRESS ENERGY, INC.
PEGPUBLIC SERVICE ENTERPRISE GROUP INCORPORATED
DGXQUEST DIAGNOSTICS INC.
CRMSALESFORCE.COM, INC.
LHLABORATORY CORP. OF AMER.
VZVERIZON COMMUNICATIONS
WAGWALGREENS CO.
WPIWATSON PHARMACEUTICALS
CMCSAComcast Corporation
EPELPASO CORPORATION
EXCEXELON CORPORATION
FDOFAMILY DOLLAR STORES, INC
GMEGAMESTOP CORP (HOLDING COMPANY)
MFEMCAFEE, INC.
MHSMEDCO HEALTH SOLUTIONS, INC.
MILMILLIPORE CORPORATION
MONMONSANTO COMPANY
SWNSOUTHWESTERN ENERGY COMPANY
SRCLStericycle, Inc.
UNHUNITED HEALTH GROUP INCORPORATED
VARVARIAN MEDICAL SYSTEMS, INC.

So 27 stocks out of 500 amounts to barely over 5%. Out of the total universe of stocks that we evaluated the percentage is more like 3%.

Perhaps the bears have a point, in a general way, that earnings are weaker than the headlines would seem to indicate. Be that as it may, we are in a recession so it can be expected that earnings will be somewhat scrawny. So it seems that the companies that have demonstrated that they can continue to grow through tough economic times deserve special recognition.

If you would like to see the total list of stocks that qualified as Growth Leaders, you can download a spreadsheet by clicking here. The spreadsheet contains all the financial data we compile for the stocks we evaluate.

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