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Corporate earnings show country's economic health

There is always a lot of speculation about the health of the economy. Every three months, we get an update on how things are going. Corporate earnings provide a window into the good and the bad of our country's economic health. Fed chairman Ben Bernanke has been on Capitol Hill for the past few days, talking about his predictions for the future US economy. But on Wall Street we're getting a good look at how the economy is doing today. Earnings season -- the period where companies tell investors how much they made in the past three months -- is underway. According to reports compiled by Thompson Financial, the April to June profits for companies are expected to grow by almost five-per cent when compared to last year. Leading the profit growth are companies like General Electric: old line industrial firms are expected to post 10-per cent growth this quarter. Companies like General Mills that make consumer staples are showing the second highest growth -- nine percent year over year. But it's not all good news. Poor sales of new cars and homes are causing the consumer discretionary sector to shrink by 13 percent this quarter. If you take away the car and home building companies, the negative number goes away -- more proof that the slumps in both sectors are a big drag on the economy.

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