The majority of of U.S. companies, 95%, have reported earnings for the first three months of the year, according to the research group FactSet. So far, S&P 500 companies have reported an average earnings decline of -14.6% for the first quarter.

"If -14.6% is the actual decline for the quarter, it will mark the largest year-over-year decline in earnings reported by the index since Q3 2009 (-15.7%)," FactSet analyst John Butters said in a report last week.

The financial industry is one of five sectors with a year-over-year decline in earnings, along with consumer discretionary, energy, industrials and materials.

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Janet Levaux

Editor-in-Chief Janet Levaux has covered the financial markets since 1991, with a focus on financial advisors since 2005. After graduating from Yale and the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), where she studied global economics, Janet worked as a freelance financial and business writer in Japan, and then as a reporter and editor for Investor's Business Daily and the Bay Area News Group in California. She earned an MBA in 2007 and since then has helped lead key ThinkAdvisor projects like its Neal-Award winning reporting on Ken Fisher, Luminaries awards program and Women in Wealth newsletter.