While the stock market is up sharply since early March, the economy as well as corporate earnings continue to suffer. The chart helps provide some perspective as to the magnitude of the current economic decline. The chart illustrates that 12-month, as-reported S&P 500 earnings have declined over 90% over the past 20 months (with over 90% of S&P 500 companies having reported for Q1 2009), making this by far the largest decline on record (the data goes back to 1936). In fact, real earnings have dropped to a record low and if current estimates hold, Q3 2009 will see the first 12-month period during which S&P 500 earnings are negative.
Fuente: http://www.chartoftheday.com/20090515.htm?A