Monday, June 25, 2012

Tipping Point? Corporate Profits Seen Heading Down

Recession in the U.S. or not, only time and NBER will tell.  Corporate profits get reported much more timelier than NBER's data, and here is Bloomberg with the latest trends:

Europe’s debt crisis is putting pressure on corporate earnings globally with companies fromProcter & Gamble Co. (PG) to Danone (BN) cutting forecasts and signaling profits will fall at more companies this year.

Analysts predict members of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index in the U.S. will report a 1.1 percent average drop in second-quarter earnings, after estimating a gain as recently as last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That would be the first decline in 11 quarters after a 6.2 percent average increase in the first quarter.

This is how bear markets typically begin.  Profits head south after quarter after quarter of growth and resiliency.  Commodities have just entered a bear market.  They tend to lead.  Increasingly, last year's turbulence is looking like 2007 to this year's 2008.  I hope that is not so, but as a self-styled perma-realist only interested in doing right by the funds I manage, I believe in the old physician's credo of Primum non nocere:  first, do no harm.

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