According to the Financial Times:
Analysts expect earnings for the period ended September to decline, the first negative result after 11 consecutive quarters of gains.
Hardly any prominent analyst has not taken this bit of news as the single largest threat to the fierce rally that has taken the market to multiyear highs. But the curiosity is that stock market prices often are said to be based on the anticipation of the conditions of the economy and earnings six months out. With the possibility of the fiscal cliff raising taxes and harming consumer growth, it is hard to see how this sentiment can be true. And consensus is building that stock prices may collapse between now and the end of the year, as their values are undermined by sharp drops in earnings.
Douglas A. McIntyre