Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

So far, second quarter earnings have beaten estimates" FactSet senior earnings analyst John Butters notes.

The big picture: With 9% of S&P 500 companies reporting so far, 73% have reported a positive EPS surprise and 78% have reported a positive revenue surprise.

But, but but: Earnings are still on pace to decline 44% in Q2, which would mark the largest year-over-year decline for the index since Q4 2008 (-69.1%).

Below the surface: The estimated net profit margin for the S&P 500 for the first quarter is 7.1% — the lowest net profit margin reported by the index since Q4 2009 and well below the 5-year average of 10.6%, according to FactSet.

State of play: All eleven S&P 500 sectors are reporting, or are projected to report, a year-over-year decline in net profit margins in the second quarter.

  • Analysts expect net profit margins to improve gradually over the next three quarters, however, they are not projecting year-over-year improvement until Q1 2021.

Editor’s note: This piece has been updated to clarify information attributed to John Butters.

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Urban housing prices are on the rise

Data: ATTOM Data Solutions; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Home prices are rising rapidly across the U.S., according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Driving the news: ATTOM released its 3Q 2020 figures this week, concluding that 77% of metro areas posted "double-digit annual home price gains." Profit margins rose in 86% of the 103 metropolitan statistical areas studied.

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Supreme Court rejects request to extend Wisconsin absentee ballot deadline

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected in a 5-3 decision Monday Wisconsin Democrats' request to reinstate an extension of the deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they're postmarked by Nov. 3.

Why it matters: All ballots must now be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in Wisconsin, a critical swing state in the presidential election.