With earnings season having kicked off this week, today’s chart provides some long-term perspective in regards 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. Current expectations on Wall Street are that earnings reach the mid-$70 level by the end of 2011 — a level surpassed only briefly during the tail-end of the credit bubble.
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