Analysts increasingly wary on results: survey

NEW YORK Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:08am EST

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street analysts have turned increasingly wary over U.S. financial results for the fourth quarter as well as the first two quarters of 2008, according to a weekly survey by Reuters Estimates on Monday.

The survey showed analysts expected S&P 500 companies' fourth-quarter earnings to fall 9.1 percent from a year earlier.

That was gloomier than the 8.4 percent decline forecast a week earlier, and the 11.5 percent growth forecast in an October 1 survey.

Analysts forecast first and second-quarter earnings growth of just 4.5 and 4.4 percent, respectively, according to Ashwani Kaul, senior market analyst at Reuters Estimates.

That was down from last week's 4.7 percent and 4.6 percent forecasts, and down from October 1 expectations of 11.4 percent and 9.4 percent.

The financial sector was expected to show the weakest year-on-year performance in the fourth quarter, with earnings expected to fall 69 percent.

Citigroup Inc (C.N) is due to announce its fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, with analysts expecting it to report a loss, along with plans to raise capital and slash more jobs.

Other banks are also expected to announce weak quarterly results after a widening subprime crisis triggered writedowns and capital erosion at big banks.

(Reporting by Ritsuko Ando, editing by Will Waterman)

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