After the worst month of a new year since 2009 and an earnings recession, economic growth could support the equities market and stock exchange traded funds ahead.

Year-to-date, the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY), iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: IVV) and Vanguard 500 Index (NYSEArca: VOO) have lost about 5.0%.

Dragging on U.S. stocks, fourth quarter earnings results have been lackluster.

“We’re seeing an earnings recession. And 75 percent of the time earnings recessions have preceded or accompanied economic recessions,” S&P Capital IQ’s Sam Stovall told CNBC.

In January, analysts lowered earnings estimates for S&P 500 companies for the quarter, John Butters, senior earnings analyst at FactSet, said in a note. The Q1 bottom-up earnings per share estimate, an aggregation of estimates or all companies in the index, dipped by 4.7%. To put this in perspective, the average decline in the bottom-up EPS estimate over the first month of a quarter has been 3.3% for the past four quarters. During the past five years, the average dip in the bottom-up EPS estimate during the first month of a quarter has been 1.9%.

However, Stovall is holding on to that 25% possibility that the economy can maintain growth ahead.

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