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The stock market isn't applauding solid corporate earnings, but that's not new this quarter — it's been happening for the past year.

Why it matters: Fears of a downturn have increased, with investors worried about slowing global growth, the tax cut "sugar high" wearing off, and ongoing trade disputes.

Expand chart
Data: BlackRock Investment Institute; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. Note: MSCI Earnings Growth Rate Index shows 12-month forward earnings estimates for the MSCI Index.
  • “It’s starting to feel like the market is pricing in a greater likelihood of a recession in 2019," Lee Piantedosi of investment management firm Eaton Vance told the Wall Street Journal last week.

Analysts predict earnings growth will hit 20% this year, but heightened uncertainty has them rethinking 2019 estimates that already were 50% lower.

  • "The consensus outlook for earnings growth is way too rosy next year," Morgan Stanley analyst Michael Wilson wrote in a note this week., adding that the sell-off could turn into a full-fledged bear market (i.e., decline of 20% of more).
  • Richard Turnill, BlackRock's chief investment strategist, wrote in a recent note that uncertainty around future earnings growth "will likely remain high.'"

Executives have been warning about prospects for their companies' future quarters, even as they report solid results.

  • Amazon and Caterpillar are recent examples of this, while Boeing and Ford are among the companies that gave weaker-than-expected guidance earlier this year.

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.