The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
By Dave Sterman
NEW YORK ( StreetAuthority) -- Depending on your area of focus, earnings season is either well underway or hasn't even started yet. Many large-cap stocks have weighed in, and almost half of the S&P 500 will have delivered quarterly results by the end of this week. Most mid-cap stocks have just begun to deliver results, and the vast majority of small and micro-cap stocks won't deliver results until February.
It's been an OK quarter thus far. According to research firm Bespoke Investment Group, the average company has topped earnings forecasts by roughly 0.5%. That's slightly lower than previous quarters, and could be seen as a possible harbinger of weakening profit growth to come.Yet some companies continue to deliver really strong quarterly results. I've come across 17 companies that have exceeded consensus profit forecasts by at least 20%. I'll take another look at the estimate-beating crowd later in February as earnings season winds down, and perhaps even consider them as additions to my