NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Oct 29, 2012) - The S&P 500 Index has performed admirably so far in 2012, gaining roughly 15 percent year-to-date, but is expected to experience a bit of a slowdown as we head into third quarter earnings season. Approximately 69 percent of S&P companies who have reported third quarter results so far have beat analysts' estimates on earnings, while 59 percent of companies have missed sales forecasts according to data from Bloomberg. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the S&P 500 Index and provides equity research on Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) and Newmont Mining Corp. (NYSE: NEM).
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Collective third quarter profits for companies in the S&P 500 are expected to decline in the third quarter for the first time in three years according to analysts' estimates collected by Bloomberg. Analysts have now lowered their projection to a 0.3 percent drop in S&P 500 earnings for the third quarter, compared with an estimate of a 2 percent decline in late September.
"The market has been decently resilient," Tim Hoyle, director of research at Haverford Trust Co., said in a recent phone interview. "We went into the earnings season with very dire expectations. So far they haven't been specifically horrible, but there are definitely specific cases where we do see earnings came in weaker than expected."
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Cliffs Natural Resources is a major global iron ore producer and a significant producer of high- and low-volatile metallurgical coal. Shares of the company dropped more than 10 percent after reported third quarter declined 86 percent to $85.1 million, compared to $601.2 million in the year-ago quarter. For 2012, the company is reducing its U.S. iron ore sales volume expectation to 22 million tons from its previous expectation of 23 million tons.
Newmont is one of the world's largest gold producers and is the only gold company included in the S&P 500 Index. The company reported preliminary third quarter attributable gold and copper production of 1.24 million ounces and 35 million pounds, respectively compared to production of 1.3 million ounces and 58 million pounds in the third quarter of 2011. Newmont is scheduled to release third quarter results on November 2, 2012.
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