Reproduced from FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Thanks to solid reports from tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft, expected first-quarter earnings are now on pace to decline by less than they were last week — the first week in which expectations improved since Q1 earnings season began.

By the numbers: With 55% of S&P 500 companies having posted first-quarter results, earnings are projected to fall 13.7% year over year, compared to an estimated 16.1% decline last week. Disney, General Motors, Tyson Foods and CVS among the big names expected to report this week, according to FactSet.

  • Revenue growth expectations have been less negative than earnings overall and rose to 0.7% from 0.2% last week, led by positive revenue surprises from tech, health care and energy.

Between the lines: Dispersion — the difference between the highest analyst estimates and the lowest — has never been higher, which makes estimates particularly difficult to interpret, analysts note.

  • “You have a lot of analysts who have just given up, who have not revised their estimates,” Refinitiv’s corporate earnings tracker David Aurelio told CNBC.
  • “Some of them cannot keep up with the bad news.”

Yes, but: Even though it's on pace to be the worst earnings quarter since Q2 2009, the first quarter may turn out to be the best earnings look this year.

  • “Because the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t taken seriously until early March, less than a third of the quarter was impacted by various lockdown orders across the globe,” Stephen Hoedt, managing director of equity and fixed income research at Key Private Bank, wrote in a note to clients late last month.
  • Analysts predict a year-over-year decline in earnings in the second quarter (-36.7%), third quarter (-20.1%), and fourth quarter (-9.4%) of 2020, FactSet notes.

Go deeper

Aug 6, 2020 - Health

The health care sector imploded in Q2

Data: U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis via FRED; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The pandemic has been very good for health insurers — largely because they don't need to pay for procedures that haven't been happening.

By the numbers: The value of health care services performed in America in the second quarter plunged to $1.69 trillion, from $2.26 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2019. The unprecedented drop was enough on its own to account for 9.5 points of the 32.9% annualized fall in second-quarter GDP.

Aug 6, 2020 - Technology

T-Mobile says it's now No. 2 wireless carrier, ahead of AT&T

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

T-Mobile Thursday said it has overtaken AT&T to become the number two wireless carrier in the U.S., ending the second quarter with 98.3 million total subscribers. Shares in T-Mobile surged 7% in after-hours trading.

The big picture: T-Mobile's merger with Sprint, which a federal judge allowed to go forward in February, gave the company a boost, and left the U.S. with only three major national wireless carriers. Verizon is in the lead.

A soaring Nasdaq is just one slice of the buy-anything market

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Nasdaq closed above 11,000 for the first time on Thursday, ending the session higher for the seventh time in a row and eighth session in nine. It has gained nearly 10% since July 1.

Why it matters: It's not just tech stocks that have rallied recently. Just about every asset class has jumped in the third quarter, including many that typically have negative or inverse correlations to each other.