Earnings beats are great, but earnings are only important relative to the price of those earnings (i.e. P/E or the inverse... earnings yield). The below looks at earnings yield by quarter (annualized) relative to the index (note that Q3 is an estimate) and things look pretty... pretty... good.
In all, with roughly half of the S&P 500 reporting by Wednesday, 81% had exceeded expectations, with just 13% coming up short, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters.
If that percentage holds, it would be the highest level of companies beating estimates in a quarter ever — or a least since Thomson Reuters began tracking them 16 years ago. It would top even the 79% mark hit in the third quarter of 2009, when the economy came off the absolute rock bottom of late 2008.
The question has been whether these earnings are sustainable. To get a glimpse, the above also shows sales relative to the price level of the index. While things don't look as rosy, they still look much improved from the richness seen over the past decade.