Fourth quarter 2019 earnings season confirmed the flat trend of the past 12 months. Hardly had 2019 ended than all eyes turned to 2020. For several months now, the earnings growth consensus for 2020 looked too optimistic. The spreading of coronavirus has only made us more cautious. The epidemic will certainly have a big impact on the first quarter of 2020 but some catching-up can be expected in the following quarters. In the short term the market should remain nervous. In the longer term a cautious optimism should eventually prevail.