While this quarter's earnings reports have crossed a substantially lowered profit bar, future expectations through the year indicate a recession could be on the way.
Estimates for the third and fourth quarters have been dropped to levels not seen since the days of the 2008 financial crisis, below even the muted 2 percent expected level of inflation.
That's an ominous recessionsign for an economy that has barely managed to attain positive growth this year even with the strong level of earnings beats, according to an analysis by Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at ConvergEx in New York.
"Revenue estimates for the back half of 2012 have been slowly working their way lower this year," Colas said. "This trend, however, has accelerated to the downside over the past 30 days and we are fast approaching levels where these estimates are unambiguously pointing to the risk of a U.S./global recession later into 2012 and 2013."
For the current quarter, about 69 percent of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 have beaten analyst profit estimates. Only 42 percent, though, have beaten on top-line revenue estimates, indicating that growth is weakening.
That's evidenced by a rash of downward forward revisions from analysts.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page