With first-quarter earnings basically in the books (99% of S&P 500 companies have reported for Q1 2010), today’s chart provides some long-term perspective to the current earnings environment by focusing on 12-month, as reported S&P 500 earnings. Today’s chart illustrates how earnings declined over 92% from its Q3 2007 peak to Q1 2009 low — the largest decline on record (the data goes back to 1936). Since its Q1 2009 low, S&P 500 earnings have surged (up over 700%) and currently come in at a level that has only been exceeded during the latter years of the dot-com and credit bubbles.
– Where’s the Dow headed? The answer may surprise you. Find out right now with the exclusive & Barron’s recommended charts of Chart of the Day Plus.