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Weak corporate earnings could put pressure on stock prices
Weak corporate earnings could put pressure on stock prices

The stock market is hitting new highs — just as corporate profit growth is slowing to a crawl. Rising earnings helped drive share prices to a series of record peaks in the last few years. But that dynamic could be tested this week when companies such as Alcoa Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. begin releasing first-quarter results. Quarterly profits are expected to drop for just the second time in four years. The decline would be relatively small: 1.2% for companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index, according to FactSet Research Systems. Wall Street hopes that it will be nothing more than a blip caused by frigid temperatures that gripped the country in January and February. ...

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