Q1 Earnings Preview

First quarter earnings season kicks off this week and the bar seems low. Consensus estimates for first quarter earnings season are calling for a slight yearover-year decline in S&P 500 Index earnings amid the economic soft patch at the start of the year. Marking the one-year anniversary of the tax reform earnings boost, in the first quarter of 2018, has made the annual comparison more difficult, as shown in Figure 1. We expect roughly flat earnings for the quarter, but the streak of seven straight quarters of earnings growth could come to an end. Here we preview the upcoming earnings season, highlight some key themes, and share some thoughts on the 2019 corporate profit outlook.

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