Wal-Mart's stock meltdown on Wednesday sent jitters throughout markets as investors tried to glean any larger trends about the American consumer.
The retail giant cut its forecast for the full year, pushing the shares to their worst day in more than 25 years on a percentage basis.
related investing news
But Wal-Mart isn't the only major U.S. company facing a gloomy outlook. Earning season is just getting underway, and already a series of negative projections and lowered guidance from companies across sectors is raising questions about the strength of the economic recovery.
Take a look at some of the most recent warnings below:
On Thursday, Yum Brands added activist investor Keith Meister to its board of directors and lowered its outlook for earnings and China sales.
While announcing it is nearing the end of a strategic review, the KFC and Pizza Hut operator said it would see flat to low-single digit profit growth this year. It previously expected low-single digit earnings growth.
The forecast reflects foreign exchange rates, which are expected to take 1 to 2 percent from full-year earnings. Yum also tempered expectations for its key China market, projecting negative same-store sales there for the year.
Earlier this month, Yum blamed its third-quarter earnings miss largely on sluggishness in China. The company said same-store sales in China, where it generates more than half of its operating profit, rose just 2 percent. They were expected to be especially strong, at 9.6 percent, according to a Consensus Metrix estimate.
"[T]he pace of recovery in our China Division is below our expectations," CEO Greg Creed said, in the earnings release. "Given our lower full-year expectations in China, combined with additional foreign exchange impact, we now expect 2015 EPS growth to be well below our target of at least 10%."
The largest U.S. bank kicked off bank earnings with mixed results on Tuesday after the bell. JPMorgan shares took a hit when it reported lowered guidance based on continued sluggishness in its trading unit.
Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake noted on the earnings conference call, "If markets remain at these levels, [fourth-quarter] revenue will also be lower."
Trading revenues, which the company warned about in September, fell 15 percent from last year. Lake said market turbulence in the quarter contributed to the decline.
Analysts' expectations for trading in the fourth quarter are too high considering the slow markets so far, she added.
After Wednesday's market close, shares of Netflix tanked when the company reported slower than expected U.S. subscriber growth.
The video-streaming-service provider had forecast an addition of 1.15 million subscribers domestically in the quarter, but it reported with just 880,000.
Netflix partly blamed the disappointing numbers on the mandated transition to chip-based debit and credit cards, but some analysts said the reason seemed unconvincing because these cards have been around for a while.
"It's likely multifactor, but certainly the transition to chip cards is not helping," said David Wells, chief financial officer of Netflix, in a conference call.
In late September, Caterpillar slashed its 2015 revenue forecast and said it will cut as many as 10,000 jobs through 2018, joining a list of big U.S. industrial companies grappling with the mining and energy downturn.
Peoria, Illinois-based Caterpillar, the world's biggest construction and mining equipment maker, cited a slowdown in industrial activity in China.
Caterpillar expects revenue to fall in 2015 for the third straight year, to $48 billion, below the average analyst estimate of $48.82 billion, as compiled by Thomson Reuters.
For 2016, the company forecast a 5 percent revenue decline, mainly in higher-margin products, to about $45.6 billion. Analysts had expected $47.36 billion.
"We are continuing to work through the near-term issues stemming from our elevated inventory levels and have adopted a more cautious and deliberate view of the business based on our first-half trends," said Jeffrey Boyer, Pier 1's chief financial officer, in the earnings report.
Just one day after Wal-Mart's announcement, Lockheed Martin said it plans to cut 250 jobs in its Missiles and Fire Control business by late November as part of an overall "belt tightening" drive.
"This action is a normal response to changes in our overall business base," the company said. "Our programs are performing well and our future outlook remains strong in Missiles and Fire Control."
Lockheed said the layoffs would affect most of its U.S. operations to some extent, except the contract it has to provide logistics support to the U.S. Special Operations Command, and a its technical services business, which is under a strategic review for a possible sale or spinoff.
—CNBC's Jacob Pramuk, Katie Little and Reuters contributed to this report.