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Originally published July 31, 2011 at 10:01 PM | Page modified August 1, 2011 at 12:01 AM

Show me the sales

One of the best surprises of this earnings season is how strong revenue growth has been. Total revenue is up 9. 9 percent from a year earlier...

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One of the best surprises of this earnings season is how strong revenue growth has been. Total revenue is up 9.9 percent from a year earlier for the S&P 500 companies that reported their second-quarter results through Thursday. If they keep up the pace, it would be the best revenue growth in a year. It could also mean that companies are moving into the second phase of earnings growth, say Deutsche Bank strategists: If companies can depend on stronger revenue to raise their profits, they'll focus less on cutting jobs and other costs.

Not everyone

is struggling

Governments around the world are getting financially weaker, which means credit-rating agencies are busy cutting their ratings. Greece is already in junk status, and agencies warn that the U.S. may lose its top rating. Then there's Uruguay. Standard & Poor's upped the South American country's rating to BB+ last week. That means it's just one level away from graduating to investment grade from junk status. S&P cited Uruguay's "prudent and consistent economic policies."

Too rosy prediction

The U.S. government said in 2001 that the country could have a total budget surplus of $5.6 trillion over the next 10 years. It was off by about $11.8 trillion. One reason for the miss was that the government's forecasts for future growth were too optimistic, says research from Harvard University. After looking at official forecasts for growth and budget balances by 33 countries, professor Jeffrey Frankel found that they were often too rosy. They also tended to be even more biased during economic booms. One exception was Chile, which tended to be too pessimistic.

The Associated Press

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