Merrill Lynch Expects Record S&P 500 EPS Plunge

By John S. McClenahen Preliminary data from Standard & Poor's suggests that the S&P 500 operating earnings per share (EPS) dropped 39% from its year-before level between April and June of this year, notes Bruce Steinberg, chief economist at Merrill Lynch & Co. As a result, the New York-based securities firm is lowering its S&P operating EPS for 2001 to 44.00, a 22% decline from the year 2000 and the worst decline on record. However, Merrill Lynch is looking for a reversal of fortunes in 2002. It's estimating a S&P 500 operating EPS of $56.00 next year, which would be 27% better than this year's projected figure.

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