LONDON (Reuters) - European companies will report a smaller growth in earnings in the fourth quarter than previously expected but are still set to end a nine month long corporate recession, according to data released on Tuesday.
Companies listed on the pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> are seen reporting a 2% rise in earnings per share, according to the latest data from I/B/E/S Refinitiv.
This still constitutes an improvement for a region that has suffered three straight quarters of declining profits.
The anticipated growth rate has however come down in recent weeks, shrinking from a high of 5.5% in early November to 2.5% last week.
So far, profits published for the fourth quarter fell 0.9% but the reporting season has yet to begin in earnest.
(Reporting by Joice Alves, edited by Julien Ponthus)