For the third quarter of 2011, 454 companies in the S&P 500 have reported results with 70% reporting earnings above expectations. The estimated earnings growth rate for Q3 is 17.7% according to Thomson Reuters (see chart). Companies are expressing less optimism about fourth quarter earnings though. Thomson Reuters reports there have been 70 negative EPS announcements for Q4 compared to 22 positive announcements. This equates to a 3.2 negative to positive ratio. This is the highest level of N/P since Q4 2008 when the ratio stood at 3.4. The long term average N/P for the S&P 500 Index is 2.3. Below is a breakdown of the revised earnings growth rates for Q4 by S&P 500 sector.