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.

"The domestic economy is faring far better than people thought and that, even in the face of Europe and the slowdown in the emerging world, is blowing away estimates," said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist for Well Capital Management, which oversees about $333 billion.

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