Some 90 percent of the companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index have reported third-quarter earnings, and the figures are underwhelming. Overall, profits are expected to rise 2.3 percent from a year ago.
Blame lower demand from customers around the world. Raw materials producers have been hit particularly hard. Their earnings are down 24 percent from a year ago, more than any other industry.
Dow Chemical, for example, saw its profit fall 39 percent on reduced sales to Europe and other regions.
A rebound may be ahead. Financial analysts expect the year to end strong, with fourth-quarter earnings rising 5.7 percent from a year earlier.
But that could change. In early October analysts were predicting growth of 9.6 percent.Associated Press