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Earnings Researcher:  Not So Fine In 2009

We've been told that things are going to get worse before they get better. Thomson Reuters director of research Ashwani Kaul told CNBC they're going to get a lot worse.

He says no one should have been surprised on Monday, when FedEx slashed its forecast for next year's earnings and capital spending.

""Have you not been paying attention to what's going on, especially a business model like FedEx, which is so heavily reliant on corporate shipping?" he asked in a CNBC interview. "The negative pre-announcements are coming in fast and furious, and it's across the board. It's probably the worst that we (at Thomson Reuters) have seen since we began tracking the stuff." (See his full comments in the video)

He said that among pre-announcements, there have been four negative ones for every positive one. Normally, the ratio is about one to one.

The implications for the wider economy are bleak.

"The unemployment levels are a huge concern," he said. "Companies are going to continue to cut jobs at this fast and furious pace that we've seen. The last jobs report sent shock waves, and we're going to continue to see those shock waves."

Asked for his best guess for the decline in S&P profits in 2009, Kaul suggested a drop of 2 to 3 percent, although the current reckoning shows a 9 percent gain.

"The lack of visibility for next year, I think it's a quarter-by-quarter thing," he explained. "Eventually, once the fourth quarter comes out, then you're going to see `09 come down."

Kaul believes that financials are ultimately likely to be the best outperformers among stocks.

"Financials have been so bad for so long now, they're just due for an upside," he said. "They're going to get it straight eventually."

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