NEW YORK (The Street) -- About half the energy companies in the S&P 500 have reported fourth-quarter 2014 results, and the battered sector is on track to post the worst earnings and revenue declines in the index by a wide margin, according to Thomson Reuters.
Although 77% of the energy companies that have reported already have beat fourth-quarter earnings estimates, the sector has posted a 21% decline in blended earnings so far. To calculate blended earnings, Thomson combines the reported earnings for companies that have issued results for the quarter and estimated earnings for the companies that haven't reported yet.
Meanwhile, 45% of reported revenue results in the energy sector exceeded analyst estimates, but blended fourth-quarter revenue for the group fell 13.7%.
The data suggest that, although energy is the worst-off sector in the benchmark, analysts were expecting steeper declines in earnings and revenue. Energy companies comprise 8.3% of the S&P 500 index, and ExxonMobil (XOM) - Get Report is the second-largest component by index weight.
Financials and consumer staples posted the next-worst earnings growth in the S&P, with declines of 1.5% and 0.4%, respectively. On the revenue side, materials fared second-worst with declines of 2.1%, followed by financials with 1.5% growth and consumer staples with 2.3% growth.
On the positive side, health care had the strongest fourth-quarter growth, with a whopping 22.5% gain in earnings and an 11.5% jump in revenue. Tech had the next-highest earnings and revenue growth.
As of Tuesday, the actual earnings growth of the S&P 500 is 6.7%, according to Thomson Reuters.
The S&P 500 closed Tuesday at 2,069.79, up 23.05 or 1.13%. The index reached a record closing high of 2090.57 on Dec. 29.
By Michelle Rama-Poccia