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Less than a year ago, corporate America was in an earnings recession. Now, companies in the S&P 500 are poised for the first quarter of double-digit earnings growth since 2011.

According to a blended rate of reported and estimated earnings calculated by FactSet, earnings per share rose 12.5 per cent year-over-year in the first quarter. About 58 per cent of the companies in the index have reported first quarter earnings so far.

If 12.5 per cent is the actual growth rate, it will mark the largest earnings gain for the index since the third quarter of 2011 and the first double digit earnings growth since the fourth quarter of 2011.

The current estimated rate also tops the 9 per cent predicted by Wall Street analysts at the end of quarter on March 31.

Companies in the benchmark index snapped a five-quarter string of shrinking earnings in the third quarter of 2016.

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