One of the pillars of this nearly decade-long bull market has been the growing profits of US corporations. US stocks have seen their profit margins rise steadily since 2009 and are around a record mark of 10%. Analysts continue to forecast growth to around 12% in 2020. At the beginning of the 1990s, margins were just half of now. However, this narrative is fraught as just 10 stocks account for around 50% of all the margin growth in the S&P 500 since 2009. Those stocks? All tech, unsurprisingly. But what it means is that many other companies are not as healthy as many assumed, and as we enter a tougher era for margins, including higher labor costs, increased input costs, and higher interest costs, there could be some steep falls.
FINSUM: We think this is a reason to worry, as when margins really start to fall on the back of higher rates and costs, investors are going to be very alarmed.