U.S. ‘Snapback’ Drives Profits

Companies are beating earnings estimates at the highest rate in two years.

U.S. companies from Apple Inc. to 3M Co. are surpassing earnings estimates at the highest rate in two years as economic growth at home helps drive demand and counter a drag from Europe.

Profit has outpaced forecasts for 82 percent of Standard & Poor’s 500 Index companies that have reported so far this earnings cycle, which if it holds would be the highest rate since the first quarter of 2010. Earnings rose 12 percent on average through yesterday, exceeding the 0.6 percent increase analysts projected when reporting began in earnest on April 10, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

‘Operational Discipline’

3M, the maker of Post-it Notes and fuel system tuneup kits, posted earnings per share that beat analysts’ estimates by 10 cents, helped by rising domestic auto and industrial demand.

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