"Analyst's Estimates" of Corporate Earnings
This does not necessarily imply that earnings are good per se, or even that current earnings will be better than what those analysts forecasted a year ago earnings will be now (In fact, studies have showed that on average analysts overestimate what earnings will be a year from now). It's just that it is alway the case that the published earnings will on average be higher than the so-called estimates are just before they are published.
This consistent error could indicate two things.
1) The so-called analysts are grossly incompetent.
2) The so-called analysts are dishonest, and are trying to create a artificial impression of good news, by downwardly adjusting their "estimates" just before publication so that the headlines will always be mostly about "better than expected" earnings, a illusion they have an economic self-interest in, since this would make more people buy stocks something which they as brokerage houses would make money on.
Both of these explanations are possible and it could of course be a combination, but I am quite frankly more inclined to believe in the latter.