Brexit Could Bring the S&P 500 Down 40% in 2016. Even before the Brexit, U.S. corporate earnings were outright collapsing. S&P 500 earnings have been declining for four consecutive quarters—since the second quarter of 2015.
In the first quarter of 2016, companies on the S&P 500 purchased $161.4 billion worth of their own shares—this was the second-largest amount on record! The buybacks were 12% higher than the first quarter of 2015.