NEW YORK, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Analysts expect first-quarter earnings for S&P 500 companies to decline 0.1 percent from a year earlier, which would be the first quarterly profit decline for the group since 2016, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
The latest forecast is down sharply from the start of the year, when analysts estimated growth of 5.3 percent for the first quarter.
The second quarter of 2016 was the last in a four-quarter profit recession for the S&P 500.
Profit estimates have fallen sharply in recent months amid increased worries over lower global growth, particularly in China, and weaker outlooks from top technology names like Apple . Forecasts for energy companies have dropped as well, following the recent plunge in oil prices. (Reporting by Caroline Valetkevitch)