Boosting its record number of consecutive quarters of double-digit year-over-year earnings gains up to 18, Standard & Poor’s announced that the S&P 500 is expected to show “strong quarterly growth” in third-quarter operating earnings. The predicted third-quarter earnings of $21.53 ($194 billion in aggregate) represent a 14.3% gain over the $18.84 ($170 billion in aggregate) reported for the index in the third quarter of 2005.

Energy is expected to continue strong with a 27% gain for the quarter, and Materials should continue to recover from poor second-half 2005 results,” said Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst at Standard & Poor’s Index Services, in a statement. While the S&P 500 earnings were mostly led by companies in the energy sector during the second quarter, the present quarter has a broader base contributing to earnings growth. Six of the 10 sectors are expected to post double-digit gains, S&P said.

S&P expects energy and materials to lead this growth for the full year, reflective of high global commodity prices.

For a tabular view of the S&P 500 information, is available here.