Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Second-quarter S&P 500 earnings are expected to decline by 43.5%, with revenues falling by 11.5%, according to FactSet, the largest year-over-year drop since Q4 2008 (-69.1%).

By the numbers: Estimated earnings per share for the second quarter have decreased by 36.2% since March 31.

  • That's more than 10 times the five-year average and the largest decrease in a quarter since FactSet began tracking the data in 2002.

The earnings picture is being clouded by a lack of forward guidance.

  • Through Friday, 183 S&P 500 companies had withdrawn or confirmed a previous withdrawal of annual EPS guidance for fiscal year 2020, FactSet senior earnings analyst John Butters said in a note.
  • Only 48 companies have issued guidance for Q2 — with 27 providing negative EPS guidance and 21 issuing positive ones — less than half of the five-year average for a quarter (107).
  • Even with the small sample size, the percentage of companies issuing positive guidance (56%) is well below the five-year average of 69%.

On the other side: As EPS estimates have fallen, price-to-earnings ratios have skyrocketed toward record highs.

  • The 12-month forward P/E ratio for the S&P 500 is 21.2, significantly above the 5-year average (16.8) and 10-year average (15.1) for the index.

Between the lines: The one sector in the S&P 500 that has not seen a significant negative impact to earnings guidance is utilities.

  • Utilities were, by far, the sector with the highest number of companies to confirm previous EPS guidance for 2020 and are projected to have the highest year-over-year earnings growth of all eleven sectors at 2.4%.

Go deeper: U.S. earnings could be world's hardest hit by coronavirus

Go deeper

Mergers and acquisitions picked back up in Q2

Reproduced from CB Insights; Chart: Axios Visuals

Big companies are quickly getting back to business as usual even as coronavirus cases continue to hit record levels.

What's happening: A recent survey of U.S. chief financial officers found the difference in outlooks between small and large firms over the next 12 months "is extreme."

Jul 15, 2020 - Health

UnitedHealth posts most profitable quarter in its history

UnitedHealth's financial power is growing. Photo: UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group registered more than $6.6 billion in profits in the second quarter — by far the conglomerate's highest quarterly profit ever, according to an analysis of company financial data from FactSet.

Why it matters: Most companies struggled in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic froze the economy, but health insurers like UnitedHealth heavily benefited as people held off on going to the doctor or hospital, resulting in fewer medical claims that needed to be paid.

Federal Reserve boosted big banks' bond trading profits in Q2

Fed chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Federal Reserve via Getty Images

Tuesday's earnings reports showed how banks have reaped the rewards of the Federal Reserve's efforts to carpet bomb markets with liquidity since March.

What happened: JPMorgan's fixed-income trading revenue jumped 99% in the quarter, while fixed-income trading revenue climbed nearly 60% at Citi during the quarter.