Corporate earnings are virtually certain to beat estimates for the first quarter, analysts told CNBC on Tuesday. The question is when economic and labor market conditions will create sustained profit and revenue growth.
Company reports are expected to show a 6.9 percent decline in S&P 500 earnings per share for the first three months of the year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data. EPS for S&P 500-listed companies fell 2.9 percent in the final quarter of 2015.
Steven Wieting, global chief investment strategist at Citi Private bank, said Tuesday he believes earnings will be "substantially" better than negative 7 percent.
"We've had upside surprises in earnings reports for the current reporting quarter since mid-2009. Every single quarter has been an upside surprise, on at least a quarter looking back," he told CNBC's "Squawk Box."
The market and earnings outlooks are currently clouded by uncertainty around the impact of diverging monetary policy on currency exchanges as well as the Federal Reserve's insistence on clinging to low rates at a time when the employment picture is improving, Wieting said.