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Why Gloomy 2Q Earnings Outlook Might Not Be So Dim

The financial sector is also expected to see a jump, with 16 percent growth from a year earlier.

An aggregate of the S&P 500's earnings per share is estimated at $26.41, up from $25.67 reported in the second quarter last year. That would be the second-highest quarterly earnings, only topped by the all-time high of $26.71 during this year's first quarter.

Howard Silverblatt, a senior index analyst with S&P Dow Jones Indices, said the earnings should propel the S&P 500 index past its record close of 1,669.16 on May 21.

"The guidance has been negative, but not as much as historically," Silverblatt said.

Still, there are concerns. Short points out that earnings are only part of the picture. She's scrutinizing revenue growth, which is predicted to slow by 0.3 percent from last year's second quarter. If that holds true, it would be the first revenue slowdown since the third quarter of 2009, just after the recession ended

"Companies have gotten very good at managing costs â¿¿ which is of course important â¿¿ but it's unsustainable," Short said. "At some point you need to grow that top line."

Profits at mining and other companies that provide gold, aluminum and similar products are expected to slow because of lower commodity prices. Growth for their profits is expected to pull back by 4 percent.

The technology sector isn't looking promising either. Personal computer sales have slumped, hurting Dell Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. But the real drag is Apple Inc. The company isn't launching any new products and is expected to earn $7.37 a share, down from $9.32 last year, according to FactSet. Apple accounts for about 15 percent of the sector's weight, so its earnings drop brings down the entire group. Growth in IT earnings will slow by 5 percent.

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Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott .

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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