NEW YORK — CEOs, you get one more mulligan.
Over the next few weeks, companies across the country will be telling investors how much profit they made in the last three months of 2019. Analysts along Wall Street are setting expectations very low, again. They’re forecasting a fourth-straight quarter of falling profits by S&P 500 companies, according to FactSet, something that hasn’t happened since 2015-2016.
That’s normally a warning sign for the market because stock prices tend to follow the path of corporate earnings over the long term. Last year was notable not only because investors sent the S&P 500 to one of its best annual returns in decades, but because they did so while profits were slumping.
Investors are likely to give CEOs another pass this upcoming earnings season, which got underway this week with reports from JPMorgan Chase and other high-profile banks.
Last year was a particularly tough one for companies to deliver big growth because they were no longer…