Citigroup Unit Foresees 6% Drop In 2001 EPS

By John S. McClenahen Compared with 2000, earnings per share (EPS) for the Standard & Poor 500 companies will collectively fall 6% to $53, estimates Steven Wieting, an economist with Salomon Smith Barney, a unit of Citigroup Inc., New York. He expects a 23% drop in technology, a 27% drop in autos, a 25% drop in basic materials, and a 15% drop in communications services to drag down the 2001 EPS. (Wieting figures EPS will be rising for healthcare, utilities, energy, capital goods, financials, and consumer staples.) If the U.S. economy were to fall into a severe recession this year, the "worst-case scenario" is for a 20% S&P 500 EPS decline to $45.

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