Friday, April 17, 2009

Corporate Profits to GDP Ratio

Via Zerohedge a chart of corporate profit to GDP ratio.
ZH then posts this comment: "Look at the nearby chart, which presents National Account profits relative to GDP – a proxy for margins. People who look at the earnings plunge and deem this to have been the worst setback ever and note how we have broken all the peak-totrough declines in the past fail to take into account the starting point – the profit-to- GDP ratio at the 2006 peak hit an all-time high of 10.9% – not once did it ever even cross above the 10% threshold in the 60-year history of the data. A normal peak was typically around 7%, and today it is 6.6% – after the sharp slide this cycle, it is actually close to prior bull market peaks, believe it or not. The average recession trough is 4.6%, so on that basis we are basically two-thirds of the way though the margin compression phase and seeing as we think nominal growth is likely to be flat over the next two years, a complete normalization of this ratio would imply a further 30% downside potential for corporate profits. Applying that to S&P 500 operating earnings would actually put them at risk of bottoming at $35 at some point over the next two years, which in turn means we have a forward multiple of very close to 25x, which is simply too rich for our liking."

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