Headlines declare a rise in corporate earnings is expected. Here is a typical report, from Money/CNN.
Stocks rally on earnings optimism
Better-than-expected results from Travelers, AT&T, McDonald's and 3M push the Dow past 10,000 again, sparking a bigger rally.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Blue chips led a bigger stock market rally Thursday, as better-than-expected results from four components pushed the Dow industrials above 10,000 again and reassured investors about the ongoing corporate reporting period.
At the end of the story, buried, we read this:
So far, 167 companies, or 33% of the S&P 500, have reported results. Profits are currently on track to have fallen 19.2% versus a year earlier, according to the latest from Thomson Reuters. Revenue is expected to have dropped over 10% from a year ago. Profits are 19% lower than in 2008. Do you recall how well the economy was doing a year ago? Not well. It was almost a year into the worst recession in our era. Profits were tanking. It's worse today.
The story ends with this bit of irrelevant news.
Other company news: Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) launched the newest version of its operating system, Windows 7. The tech behemoth, a Dow component, is hoping that users who have been running XP for years will switch to the new system -- and forgive it for the disappointing performance of Windows Vista in 2007.