What affects the markets is when expectations for growth are not fulfilled. Expectations for the next three quarters are fairly low, with a rebound expected in the fourth quarter of this year (shown in red on the chart).
Fourth quarter S&P 500 earnings numbers were finalized at $21.99 per share by Standard & Poor's (excel doc). This brings to an end the 18 consecutive quarter streak of double digit year over year earnings growth. The table below highlights year over year earnings growth going back to 1989 as provided by Standard & Poor's. While the 18 consecutive quarters of double digit growth is the longest streak of its kind, there was a 13 consecutive quarter streak from 1992 to 1995. Once that streak ended, growth remained low for the next couple of years, but it did not seem to negatively affect the markets.