Banks in UAE seen ready for extended slump after drop in oil

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New York - One of the best ways for investors to have made money in US stocks last year was to acquire them just before earnings season began. Bulls need that trade to work now more than any time in the past few years.

With everything from China to the Federal Reserve and oil working against them, investors have had little reason to buy in 2016 - and the result has been the worst five-day start to any year. Now begins a stretch that lately has been one of the best for stocks, when companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index from Alcoa to Wells Fargo & Co. begin publishing October- to-December results.

It’s not that earnings are stellar: profits for US companies are forecast by analysts to decline for a third straight quarter, and estimates have fallen steadily since March. It’s that investors trying to assess currency devaluations and equity convulsions 7 000 miles away in Shanghai will at least be reassured that the American economy is holding up.

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