Category Archives: Business

CEO Confidence Surveys 1Q 2018 – Notable Excerpts

On April 5, 2018, The Conference Board released the 1st Quarter Measure Of CEO Confidence.   The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 65, up from 63 in the fourth quarter. [note:  a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]

Notable excerpts from this April 5 Press Release include:

CEOs’ assessment of current economic conditions was slightly more positive, with 75 percent saying conditions are better compared to six months ago, up from 71 percent in the fourth quarter of last year. CEOs were also moderately more optimistic in their appraisal of current conditions in their own industries. Now, 51 percent say conditions in their own industries have improved, up from 49 percent last quarter.

Looking ahead, CEOs’ expectations regarding the short-term outlook was significantly better. Now, 63 percent expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to just 47 percent last quarter. CEOs, however, were only slightly more upbeat about short-term prospects in their own industries over the next six months, with 43 percent anticipating conditions will improve, versus 41 percent last quarter.

The Business Roundtable last month also released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 1st Quarter of 2018.   Notable excerpts from the March 13, 2018 release, titled “Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index Reaches Highest Level in Survey’s 15-Year History“:

The Business Roundtable Q1 2018 CEO Economic Outlook Index – a composite of CEO projections for sales and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months – increased to 118.6 in the first quarter of 2018, the highest level since the survey began in the fourth quarter of 2002. The survey was conducted between February 7 and February 26, 2018. Results reflect renewed CEO optimism and confidence following passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, but do not capture effects of President Trump’s March 8, 2018, announcement of steel and aluminum tariffs.

The Q1 2018 Index exceeded its previous high point of 113 in 2011. The Index has significantly surpassed its historical average level of 81.2.

All three components of the Index reached record highs, signaling a positive direction for the U.S economy.

  • CEO plans for hiring rose to 98.5, up 22.8 from the previous quarter.
  • Plans for capital investment rose to 115.4, up 22.7 from Q4 2017.
  • Expectations for sales reached 141.9, an increase of 19.9 from the last quarter.

In their second estimate for GDP in 2018, CEOs project 2.8 percent GDP growth for the year, compared to the previous quarter’s estimate of 2.5 percent for the year.

Additional details can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

_____

I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2662.84 as this post is written

Deloitte “CFO Signals” Report Q1 2018 – Notable Aspects

Recently Deloitte released their “CFO Signals” “High-Level Summary” report for the 1st Quarter of 2018.

As seen in page 2 of the report, there were 155 survey respondents.  As stated:

“Each quarter (since 2Q10), CFO Signals has tracked the thinking and actions of CFOs representing many of North America’s largest and most influential companies.

All respondents are CFOs from the US, Canada, and Mexico, and the vast majority are from companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. For a summary of this quarter’s response demographics, please see the sidebars and charts on this page. For other information about participation and methodology, please contact nacfosurvey@deloitte.com.”

Here are some of the excerpts that I found notable:

from page 3:

Perceptions

How do you regard the current/future status of the North American, European, and Chinese economies? Perceptions of North America improved, with 90% of CFOs rating current conditions as good (up sharply from 74% last quarter and a new survey high), and 59% expecting better conditions in a year (up from 56%). Perceptions of Europe rose to 55% and 51%, respectively (both new highs), and China rose sharply to 50% (new high) and 37%. Page 6.

What is your perception of the capital markets? Seventy-seven percent of CFOs say debt financing is attractive (down from 85%). Attractiveness of equity financing decreased for public company CFOs (from 46% to 43%) and also for private company CFOs (from 47% to 35%). Seventy-six percent of CFOs now say US equities are overvalued—down from last quarter’s survey-high 84%. Page 7.

Sentiment

Overall, what risks worry you the most? Anticipating higher post-tax-reform investment, CFOs voice very strong internal concerns about securing the talent they need. They again cite external worries about politics and policy (especially trade policy) and also new concerns about rising government debt. Page 8.

Compared to three months ago, how do you feel about the financial prospects for your company? The net optimism index rose from last quarter’s +47 to +54 this quarter—a new survey high. Nearly 60% of CFOs express rising optimism (up from 52%), and just 6% express declining optimism. Page 9.

Expectations

What is your company’s business focus for the next year? CFOs indicate a strong bias toward revenue growth over cost reduction (64% vs. 18%) and investing cash over returning it (57% vs. 14%). The bias toward current offerings over new ones held steady this quarter (40% vs. 37%), and the bias toward current geographies over new ones declined slightly (61% vs. 20%). Page 10.

Compared to the past 12 months, how do you expect your key operating metrics to change over the next 12 months? Revenue growth expectations rose from 4.7% to 5.9% (a two-year high). Earnings growth rose from 8.4% to 9.8% (the highest level in nearly three years). Capital investment rose sharply from 6.5% to 11.0% (a five-year high). Domestic hiring rose from 2.0% to 3.1% (a new high). Manufacturing and Retail/Wholesale led for most metrics. Page 11.

Special topic: Companies’ response to US tax law changes

What will be the impact of new US corporate tax laws on your company? Many CFOs expect tax reform to raise their domestic investment, hiring, and wages; many also expect accelerated earnings repatriation and challenges for their tax function. Page 12.

What will you do with your repatriated cash? Investment (in both core and new businesses and also in R&D) is far and away CFOs’ top expected use for repatriated cash. Many expect some use for hiring and pay, but more extensive use appears focused on debt repayment, buybacks, and dividends. Page 13.

from page 9:

Sentiment

Optimism regarding own-companies’ prospects

After bouncing back last quarter to the high levels we saw early in 2017, net optimism rose again to another survey high this quarter—on strength in all three geographies and most industries.

Net optimism hit a survey-high +50% in 1Q17. Then, after declining in the second and third quarters, it bounced back in the fourth to a very strong +47. This quarter’s net optimism continued the positive trend, reaching another survey high at +54. Nearly 60% of CFOs expressed rising optimism (up from 52%), and just 6% cited declining optimism (near the historic low).

Net optimism for the US rose from last quarter’s already-high +50 to +55 this quarter. Canada rose slightly from +46 to +47, while optimism in Mexico rose sharply from zero to +38.

Sentiment was particularly strong in Services, Manufacturing, Technology, and Retail/ Wholesale—all of which came in above +62. Financial Services and T/M/E* were lowest at +25.

Please see the appendix for charts specific to individual industries and countries.

* Please note the very small sample size for T/M/E.

from page 11:

Expectations

Growth in key metrics, year-over-year

All key metrics rose to multi-year highs— largely on skyrocketing optimism in the US, but also on strength in Canada and Mexico. The Manufacturing and Retail/Wholesale sectors powered much of the improvement.

Revenue growth rose from 4.7% to 5.9% and sits at its two-year high. The US rose to its twoyear high. Canada rose substantially, but is still below its two-year average; Mexico rose above its two-year average. Retail/Wholesale and Technology lead; T/M/E* trails.

Earnings growth rose from 8.4% to 9.8% and sits at its highest level in nearly three years. The US rose sharply to its three-year high. Canada rose, but remains below its two-year average; Mexico rose above its two-year average. Manufacturing and Retail/Wholesale lead; T/M/E* and Healthcare/Pharma trail.

Capital investment rose sharply from 6.5% to 11% (a five-year high). The US rose to its five- year high. Canada rose sharply, but remains below its two-year average. Mexico rose sharply to its fourth-highest-ever level. Manufacturing and Retail/Wholesale are highest; T/M/E* and Technology are lowest.

Domestic personnel growth rose from 2.0% to 3.1%, a new survey high. The US and Canada both rose sharply—the US to its new survey high, and Canada to its second-highest level in nearly five years. Mexico rose, but sits below its two-year average. Services and Technology lead; T/M/E* and Energy/Resources trail.

Please see the appendix for charts specific to individual industries and countries.

* Please note the very small sample size for T/M/E.

Among the various charts and graphics in the report are graphics depicting trends in “Own Company Optimism” on page 9 and “Economic Optimism” found on page 6.

_____

I post various business and economic surveys because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these surveys.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2605.00 as this post is written

Corporate Profits As A Percentage Of GDP

In the last post (“4th Quarter 2017 Corporate Profits“) I displayed, for reference purposes, a long-term chart depicting Corporate Profits After Tax.

There are many ways to view this measure, both on an absolute as well as relative basis.

One relative measure is viewing Corporate Profits as a Percentage of GDP.  I feel that this metric is important for a variety of reasons.  As well, the measure is important to a variety of parties, including investors, businesses, and government policy makers.

As one can see from the long-term chart below (updated through the fourth quarter), (After Tax) Corporate Profits as a Percentage of GDP is at levels that can be seen as historically (very) high.  While there are many reasons as to why this is so, from a going-forward standpoint I think it is important to recognize both that such a notable condition exists, as well as contemplate and/or plan for such factors and conditions that would come about if (and in my opinion “when”) a more historically “normal” ratio of Corporate Profits as a Percentage of GDP occurs.  This topic can be very complex in nature, and depends upon myriad factors.  In my opinion it deserves far greater recognition.

(click on chart to enlarge image)

Corporate Profits As A Percentage Of GDP

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed March 28, 2018

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2618.66 as this post is written

4th Quarter 2017 Corporate Profits

Today’s (March 28, 2018) GDP release (Q4, 3rd Estimate)(pdf) was accompanied by the BLS Corporate Profits report for the 4th Quarter.

Of course, there are many ways to adjust and depict overall Corporate Profits.  For reference purposes, here is a chart from the St. Louis Federal Reserve (FRED) showing the Corporate Profits After Tax (without IVA and CCAdj) (last updated March 28, 2018, with a value of $1680.25 Billion SAAR):

CP

Here is the Corporate Profits After Tax measure shown on a Percentage Change from a Year Ago perspective:

Corporate Profits After Tax Percent Change From Year Ago

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis: Corporate Profits After Tax [CP]; U.S. Department of Commerce: Bureau of Economic Analysis; accessed March 28, 2018; https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CP

_________

I post various indicators and indices because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with what they depict or imply.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2615.85 as this post is written

NFIB Small Business Optimism – February 2018

The February NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released today, March 13, 2018. The headline of the Economic Trends report is “Small Business Economy Heats Up After Years On The Sideline.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism increased in February by .7 points to 107.6.

Here are some excerpts that I find particularly notable (but don’t necessarily agree with):

Small business owners are showing unprecedented confidence in the economy as the optimism index continues at record high numbers, rising to 107.6 in February, according to the NFIB Small Business Economic Trends Survey, released today. The historically high numbers include a jump in small business owners increasing capital outlays and raising compensation.

also:

Job creation remained strong in February, as reported in the NFIB February Jobs Report, released last week. Finding qualified workers remained as the number one problem for small business owners, surpassing taxes and regulations which have held the top two spots for years.

Here is a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, as seen in the March 13 Doug Short post titled “NFIB Small Business Survey:  ‘Heating Up After Years on the Sideline’“:

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index

Further details regarding small business conditions can be seen in the full February 2018 NFIB Small Business Economic Trends (pdf) report.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2783.02 as this post is written

March 2018 Duke/CFO Global Business Outlook Survey – Notable Excerpts

On March 7, 2018 the March 2018 Duke/CFO Global Business Outlook was released.  It contains a variety of statistics regarding how CFOs view business and economic conditions.

In this CFO survey, I found the following to be the most notable excerpts – although I don’t necessarily agree with them:

Forty-four percent of U.S. companies plan to increase wages more than they would have without tax reform. Thirty-eight percent plan to increase employment and 36 percent will increase domestic investment. Thirty-one percent will increase cash holdings. Among companies with defined benefit pensions, 28 percent will increase pension contributions.

also:

Due to tax reform, the effective (or average) tax rate for U.S. companies is expected to fall by about 5 percent, from 24 percent to 18.8 percent.

also:

The Optimism Index in the U.S. increased to 71 on a 100-point scale this quarter, an all-time high.

“The extremely high level of business optimism is tied to the recently passed corporate tax reform,” Graham said. “Our analysis of past results shows the CFO Optimism Index is an accurate predictor of future economic growth and hiring, therefore 2018 looks to be a very promising year.”

Optimism is up around the world, anticipating strong global economic conditions.

also:

The proportion of firms indicating they are having difficulty hiring and retaining qualified employees remains at a two-decade high, with 45 percent of CFOs calling it a top concern, up from 43 percent last quarter. The median U.S. firm says it plans to increase employment by a median 3 percent in 2018.

“The tight labor market continues to put upward pressure on wages,” said Chris Schmidt, senior editor at CFO Research. “Wage inflation is now listed near the top half dozen concerns of U.S. CFOs.”

The CFO survey contains two Optimism Index charts, with the bottom chart showing U.S. Optimism (with regard to the economy) at 71, as seen below:

Duke CFO Survey Optimism chart

It should be interesting to see how well the CFOs predict business and economic conditions going forward.   I discussed past various aspects of this, and the importance of these predictions, in the July 9, 2010 post titled “The Business Environment”.

(past posts on CEO and CFO surveys can be found under the “CFO and CEO Confidence” tag)

_____

I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2735.50 as this post is written

Deloitte “CFO Signals” Report Q4 2017 – Notable Aspects

Recently Deloitte released their “CFO Signals” “High-Level Summary” report for the 4th Quarter of 2017.

As seen in page 2 of the report, there were 147 survey respondents.  As stated:  “Each quarter (since 2Q10), CFO Signals has tracked the thinking and actions of CFOs representing many of North America’s largest and most influential companies.

All respondents are CFOs from the US, Canada, and Mexico, and the vast majority are from companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue. For a summary of this quarter’s response demographics, please see the sidebars and charts on this page. For other information about participation and methodology, please contact nacfosurvey@deloitte.com.”

Here are some of the excerpts that I found notable:

from page 3:

Perceptions

How do you regard the current/future status of the North American, Chinese, and European economies? Perceptions of North America improved markedly with 74% of CFOs rating current conditions as good (up from 64% last quarter), and 56% expecting better conditions in a year (up from 45%). Perceptions of Europe rose to 35% and 33%, respectively, and China rose sharply to 49% and 41% (their highest levels in nearly five years). Page 6.

What is your perception of the capital markets? Eighty-five percent of CFOs say debt financing is attractive (up slightly from 83%). Attractiveness of equity financing decreased for public company CFOs (from 48% to 46%) and rose for private company CFOs (from 35% to 47%). Eighty-four percent of CFOs now say US equities are overvalued—another new survey high. Page 7.

Sentiment

Overall, what risks worry you the most? CFOs say constraints to their companies’ performance are mostly external, voicing strong concerns about political turmoil, policy uncertainty, and geopolitics. Talent challenges, strategy execution, and achieving growth are the top internal worries. Page 8.

Compared to three months ago, how do you feel about the financial prospects for your company? The net optimism index rose sharply from last quarter’s +29 to +47 this quarter. About 52% of CFOs express rising optimism (up from 45%), and 5% express declining optimism (down from 16%). Page 9.

Expectations

What is your company’s business focus for the next year? CFOs indicate a strong bias toward revenue growth over cost reduction (61% vs. 18%) and investing cash over returning it (56% vs. 18%). They shifted back to a bias toward existing offerings over new ones (45% vs. 35%), and indicated a bias toward current geographies over new ones (65% vs. 11%). Page 10.

Compared to the past 12 months, how do you expect your key operating metrics to change over the next 12 months? Revenue growth expectations declined from last quarter’s 5.7% to 4.7% (still above the two-year average). Earnings growth rose from 7.9% to 8.4% (well above the two-year average). Capital spending growth slid from 7.3% to 6.5%; domestic hiring growth fell from 2.6% to 2.0%. Canadian expectations trailed for almost all metrics. Page 11.

from page 9:

Sentiment

Optimism regarding own-companies’ prospects

Several industries rose sharply, but Healthcare/Pharma declined sharply.

After declining to +29 last quarter, net optimism rose sharply to +47 this quarter. About 52% of CFOs expressed rising optimism (up from 45%), and just 5% cited declining optimism (down from 16%).

Net optimism for the US rose sharply from last quarter’s +28 to +50 this quarter. Canada rose from +31 to +46, while optimism in Mexico declined sharply from +39 to zero.

Sentiment rose sharply in Manufacturing, Technology, Energy/Resources, and

Services—all of which came in above +45. Retail/Wholesale rose, but trailed the average at +29, and Healthcare/Pharma fell sharply to just +8.

Please see the appendix for charts specific to individual industries and countries.

from page 11:

Expectations

Growth in key metrics, year-over-year

Earnings growth rose on strength in the US.
Revenue, capital spending, and domestic
hiring growth all declined, largely on
pessimism in Canada.

Revenue growth declined from 5.7% to 4.7%,
but remains above its two-year average of 4.4%.
The US declined, but remains near its two-year
highs. Canada declined to well below its two-year
average; Mexico declined, but is still relatively
strong. Healthcare/Pharma and Technology lead;
T/M/E and Services trail.

Earnings growth rose to 8.4% from 7.9%. The
US leads and is well above its two-year average.
Canada declined to well below its two-year
average; Mexico declined, but is still above its
average. Retail/Wholesale, Manufacturing, and
Technology lead; T/M/E and Services trail.

Capital investment growth fell for the third
straight quarter, from 7.3% to 6.5%, but is still
among its five-year highs. The US and Mexico
rose and are well above their two-year averages.
Canada declined to well below its average.
Energy/Resources and Manufacturing are the
highest; T/M/E and Healthcare/Pharma are
lowest.

Domestic hiring growth slid from 2.6% to
2.0%. The US remains at its highest level in two
years, but Canada slid to its lowest level in a
year, and Mexico slid sharply to its lowest level
in two years. Healthcare/Pharma and Services
lead; Energy/Resources and T/M/E trail. Wage
pressures are again evident in Mexico.

Please see the full report for charts specific to
individual industries and countries.

Among the various charts and graphics in the report are graphics depicting trends in “Own Company Optimism” on page 9 and “Economic Optimism” found on page 6.

_____

I post various business and economic surveys because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these surveys.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2748.23 as this post is written

CEO Confidence Surveys 4Q 2017 – Notable Excerpts

On January 4, 2018, The Conference Board released the 4th Quarter Measure Of CEO Confidence.   The overall measure of CEO Confidence was at 63, up from 59 in the third quarter. [note:  a reading of more than 50 points reflects more positive than negative responses]

Notable excerpts from this January 4 Press Release include:

CEOs’ assessment of current economic conditions improved considerably. Currently, 71 percent say conditions are better compared to six months ago, up from 56 percent in the third quarter. However, CEOs are moderately less optimistic in their appraisal of current conditions in their own industries. Now, 49 percent say conditions in their own industries have improved, down from 53 percent last quarter.

Looking ahead, CEOs’ expectations regarding the short-term outlook was significantly better. Now, 47 percent expect economic conditions to improve over the next six months, compared to just 39 percent last quarter. CEOs were also more upbeat about short-term prospects in their own industries over the next six months, with 41 percent anticipating conditions will improve, versus 36 percent in the third quarter of 2017.

The Business Roundtable last month also released its CEO Economic Outlook Survey for the 4th Quarter of 2017.   Notable excerpts from the December 5, 2017 release, titled “Business Roundtable CEO Economic Outlook Index Reaches Highest Level in Nearly Six Years“:

The Business Roundtable Q4 CEO Economic Outlook Index — a composite of CEO projections for sales and plans for capital spending and hiring over the next six months — increased to 96.8 for the fourth quarter of 2017, up from 94.5 in the third quarter.

The Index reached its highest level since the first quarter of 2012 (96.9). The Index has significantly exceeded its historical average of 80.3 for four quarters in a row and remains well above 50, suggesting that CEOs continue to expect the U.S. economy to expand at a healthy pace.

CEO plans for capital investment rose to their highest level since the second quarter of 2011. Expectations for sales picked up by 5.1 points. Hiring plans dipped 4.5 points from Q3, but remain near their highest level in four years.

In their first GDP estimate for 2018, CEOs project 2.5 percent GDP growth for the year.

Additional details can be seen in the sources mentioned above.

_____

I post various economic forecasts because I believe they should be carefully monitored.  However, as those familiar with this site are aware, I do not necessarily agree with many of the consensus estimates and much of the commentary in these forecast surveys.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2747.71 as this post is written

NFIB Small Business Optimism – November 2017

The November NFIB Small Business Optimism report was released today, December 12, 2017. The headline of the Small Business Economic Trends report is “Small Business Optimism Hits Near All-Time High.”

The Index of Small Business Optimism increased in November by 3.7 points to 107.5.

Here are some excerpts that I find particularly notable (but don’t necessarily agree with):

“We haven’t seen this kind of optimism in 34 years, and we’ve seen it only once in the 44 years that NFIB has been conducting this research,” said NFIB President and CEO Juanita Duggan. “Small business owners are exuberant about the economy, and they are ready to lead the U.S. economy in a period of robust growth.”

also:

LABOR MARKETS

After several solid quarters, job creation slowed in the small business sector as business owners reported a seasonally adjusted average employment change per firm of 0.0 workers. Thirteen percent (down 1 point) reported increasing employment an average of 3.0 workers per firm and 10 percent (down 1 point) reported reducing employment an average of 2.9 workers per firm (seasonally adjusted). Fifty-two percent reported hiring or trying to hire (down 7 points), but forty-four percent (85 percent of those hiring or trying to hire) reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.

Eighteen percent of owners cited the difficulty of finding qualified workers as their Single Most Important Business Problem (down 2 points), second only to taxes. This is the top ranked problem for those in construction (33 percent) and manufacturing (22 percent), getting more votes than taxes and the cost of regulations. Thirty percent of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, down 5 points from the record-high level reached in July and October. Eleven percent reported using temporary workers, down 3 points. A seasonally adjusted net 24 percent plan to create new jobs, up 6 points to a record high reading. Hiring plans were strongest in professional services, manufacturing and construction.

also:

COMPENSATION AND EARNINGS

Reports of higher worker compensation were unchanged at a net 27 percent, historically very strong all year. Owners complain at record rates of labor quality issues, with 85 percent of those hiring or trying to hire reporting few or no qualified applicants for their open positions. Eighteen percent selected “finding qualified labor” as their top business problem, far more than cite weak sales. Plans to raise compensation fell 4 points in frequency to a net 17 percent, still a solid number, but a surprise as labor markets seem to be getting tighter. The frequency of reports of positive profit trends improved 2 points to a net negative 12 percent reporting quarter on quarter profit improvements, a solid reading historically, among the best since 2007.

Here is a chart of the NFIB Small Business Optimism chart, as seen in the December 12 Doug Short post titled “NFIB Small Business Survey:  Index Near All-Time High“:

NFIB Small Business Optimism

Further details regarding small business conditions can be seen in the full November 2017 NFIB Small Business Economic Trends (pdf) report.

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2667.31 as this post is written

Corporate Profits As A Percentage Of GDP

In the last post (“3rd Quarter 2017 Corporate Profits“) I displayed, for reference purposes, a long-term chart depicting Corporate Profits After Tax.

There are many ways to view this measure, both on an absolute as well as relative basis.

One relative measure is viewing Corporate Profits as a Percentage of GDP.  I feel that this metric is important for a variety of reasons.  As well, the measure is important to a variety of parties, including investors, businesses, and government policy makers.

As one can see from the long-term chart below (updated through the third quarter), (After Tax) Corporate Profits as a Percentage of GDP is at levels that can be seen as historically (very) high.  While there are many reasons as to why this is so, from a going-forward standpoint I think it is important to recognize both that such a notable condition exists, as well as contemplate and/or plan for such factors and conditions that would come about if (and in my opinion “when”) a more historically “normal” ratio of Corporate Profits as a Percentage of GDP occurs.  This topic can be very complex in nature, and depends upon myriad factors.  In my opinion it deserves far greater recognition.

(click on chart to enlarge image)

Corporate Profits As A Percentage Of GDP

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed November 29, 2017

_____

The Special Note summarizes my overall thoughts about our economic situation

SPX at 2626.23 as this post is written