Salient to Investors:

Bellwethers FedEx and Intel expect lower quarterly profits because of weakness in worldwide demand.

Wall Street expects quarterly profits at large American companies to decline for the first time since 2009.

Ethan Harris at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said a lot of the profit gain over the past years came from a recession bounce and very aggressive cost-cutting.

Greg Harrison at Thomson Reuters says Wall Street expects S&P 500 earnings to decline 2.2 percent in Q3 from Q3 2011, and down 3 percent from Q2 2012.

David Kostin at Goldman Sachs said S&P500 profit margins peaked at 8.9 percent in late 2011, and will decline to 8.7 percent in 2012.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said productivity gains rose only 0.7 percent in 2011.

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