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It’s not that bad,” remarked Jamie Dimon, boss of JP Morgan Chase, of the global economy on July 16th. But, Wall Street’s favourite banker had to concede, business sentiment “is a little bit worse”. Prospects for American companies have indeed dimmed. Analysts expect earnings of the biggest among them, which have just begun reporting their latest set of results, to have declined in the second quarter.

This would mark two consecutive quarters of falling profits, the first such “earnings recession” since 2016. Coming just as the current economic expansion makes history as America’s longest ever, it raises the prospect of a long boom running out of steam. Bosses are getting twitchy.

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