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Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

After months of downward revisions, analysts now expect the S&P 500 to post a year-over-year earnings decline in the first quarter, according to FactSet.

State of play: As recently as Sept. 30, analysts predicted the earnings growth rate for the current quarter would hit 6.7%. If their estimates prove to be true, it would be the first year-over-year contraction of S&P earnings since the second quarter of 2016.

Yes, but: Companies are up against a high bar, thanks to a boost from corporate tax cuts last year.

  • Still, CEO warnings about a global economic slowdown, the trade war and margin pressures has led analysts to curb expectations.
  • Earnings growth in the fourth quarter is on track to hit 12%, with about 46% of S&P 500 companies having released quarterly results so far.

The bad news: As more companies release soft guidance, expectations for first quarter earnings — and the rest of the year — may only get bleaker.

  • "We wouldn't be surprised if every quarter this year ends up in negative territory,” analysts at Morgan Stanley wrote in a recent note.

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Jeff Sessions loses Alabama Senate primary runoff

Jeff Sessions. Photo: Michael DeMocker/Getty Images

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has lost the Republican nomination for Senate to Tommy Tuberville in Alabama in Tuesday night’s primary runoff, AP reports.

Why it matters: Sessions had been the underdog in the race against former Auburn University head football coach Tommy Tuberville, who had the backing of President Trump. Tuberville will now face off against Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) in November, who is considered to have one of the most vulnerable Democratic Senate seats in the country.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 13,273,537 — Total deaths: 577,006 — Total recoveries — 7,367,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 3,424,304 — Total deaths: 136,432 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. Politics: Biden welcomes Trump wearing mask in public but warns "it’s not enough"
  4. Public health: Four former CDC heads say Trump's undermining of agency puts lives at risk — CDC director: U.S. could get coronavirus "under control" in 4–8 weeks if all wear masks.

Bank CEOs brace for worsening economic scenario

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon. Photo: J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Wells Fargo swung to its first loss since the financial crisis — while JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup reported significantly lower profits from a year earlier — as the banks set aside billions of dollars more in the second quarter for loans that may go bad.

Why it matters: The cumulative $28 billion in loan loss provisions that banks have so far announced they’re reserving serves as a signal they’re preparing for a colossal wave of loan defaults as the economy slogs through a coronavirus-driven downturn.