Market Extra: Why the stock market is unimpressed by the best first-quarter results in 24 years

By at least one measure, corporate earnings are the best in nearly a quarter-century. However, the stock market is not enthused!

Rather than rally on the back of upbeat results, the main equity benchmarks have sulked lower.

According to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, of the 343 companies, or about 70%, of S&P 500 members that have reported earnings to date, 79.9% have reported earnings per share that were above analysts’ expectations, putting the season on track for the highest earnings beat rate on record, going back to 1994.

So far, the first-quarter growth rate for EPS is 22%, compared with consensus earnings growth of 16.3% as of April 12, according to Lindsey Bell, investment strategist at CFRA.

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