Expectations Concerning Lower Prices

On June 3, the Wall Street Journal published a blog post titled “Are Consumers, Businesses Expecting Lower Prices?”  The article discusses facets and statistics regarding current and expected pricing trends.

A couple of notable excerpts include:

Regional Fed surveys also show weak pricing power among other manufacturers, which suggests other consumers are holding off on ordering. And the lack of demand may be slowing hiring.

also:

In a series of special questions asked in May, the New York Fed found the pressure to cut prices will continue over the coming year.

New York manufacturers anticipated an increase of just 1.2% in the prices they receive for their products, “the smallest expected increase recorded since these questions were first asked in May 2007,” the New York Fed said.

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StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.

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StratX, LLC (stratxllc.com) is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future business conditions, and offers corporations and businesses advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to increase revenue and profitability.

 

Overall Corporate Profits Relative To GDP

In the last post (“After-Tax Corporate Profits Chart 1st Quarter 2013“) 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 first 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)

CP-GDP 5-30-13

Data Source: FRED, Federal Reserve Economic Data, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis; accessed May 30, 2013

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StratX, LLC (stratxllc.com) is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future business conditions, and offers corporations and businesses advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to increase revenue and profitability.

After-Tax Corporate Profits Chart 1st Quarter 2013

Today’s GDP release (Q1, 2nd Estimate) was accompanied by the BLS Corporate Profits (preliminary estimate) report for the 1st 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 (last updated May 30,2013, with a value of $1737.6 Billion) :

CP_5-30-13 1737.6

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

CP_5-30-13 1737.6 Percent Change From Year Ago

 

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StratX, LLC (stratxllc.com) is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future business conditions, and offers corporations and businesses advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to increase revenue and profitability.

Free Cash Flow Trends Among Largest U.S. Companies

On May 28, the Wall Street Journal’s “CFO Report” published an article titled “Free-Cash Flow Falls at Big Companies.”  The article mentions statistics and comments concerning the free cash flow trends at the largest 1000 publicly-traded companies in the U.S.

An excerpt:

The amount of free-cash flow recorded by 1,000 of the largest public companies in the U.S. by revenue fell to $565 billion for 2012, down 14% from 2011, according to REL, a division of Hackett Group. Free-cash flow measures the cash that companies have after they have paid off all their expenses. The decline recorded between 2011 and 2012 is the first since 2007.

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StratX, LLC offers the above commentary for informational purposes only, and does not necessarily agree with the views expressed by these outside parties.

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StratX, LLC (stratxllc.com) is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future business conditions, and offers corporations and businesses advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to increase revenue and profitability.

Indications Of Current And Future Profitability Problems

Often various trends and conditions can signal that profitability problems exist and should be both recognized and rectified.

While such conditions are numerous and can vary by company, here are a few factors that can signal that significant profitability problems either exist or are impending:

  • gross margins are (inexplicably) declining
  • industry sales are falling faster than anyone anticipated
  • price is becoming more of an issue with customers
  • opportunities for profitable growth aren’t apparent
  • existing product (or service) sales are (continually) less than expected
  • new competitors are successfully entering the market
  • loss of market share (especially if unexpected)
  • company sales lag those of industry peers
  • sales decline despite price cuts
  • for new products, unforeseen price cuts are needed

Often, these factors can serve as “early warning indicators” if they are recognized quickly.   If they are recognized and properly addressed early enough, not only can further problems be avoided, but the resolution of such impending profitability problems may better position the company for increased sales and profitability.

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StratX, LLC (stratxllc.com) is a management consulting firm and strategic advisory that focuses on the analysis of current and future business conditions, and offers corporations and businesses advice, strategies, and actionable methods on how to increase revenue and profitability.