Fears over Inflationary Pressure on Earnings to Test Stocks

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Earnings will be the major focus for investors in the week ahead, as they home in on whether rising costs are squeezing margins and signaling a build in inflationary pressures. From CocaCola and IBM to Johnson Johnson and Netflix, investors will hear from a broad swath of corporate America.

So far, with one week in, companies are beating earnings estimates by a wide margin of more than 84, according to Refinitiv. This threemonth period is the first to be compared to year earlier profits that were affected by the pandemic. Profit growth for the SP 500 is a stunning 30.2 for the quarter so far, based on actual reports and estimates. That makes it the best threemonth period since the third quarter of 2010, according to FactSet.

Major banks, like JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America reported better than expected profits in the past week. The SP 500 ended the week at a record high of 4,185, a gain of 1.4. The Dow, higher for a fourth week, gained 1.2 to end the week at a record 34,200. Nasdaq gained 1.1 for the week, finishing at 14,052. Utilities was the best performing major SP sector, gaining 3.7, followed by materials, up 3.2 and health care, up 2.9. Technology was up 1. Financials were up 0.7, while industrials were up 0.6.

President Joe Biden has proposed raising corporate taxes to 28 from 21 to help pay for his infrastructure plan. While the fate of the tax hike is still not clear, the increase in other costs is apparent. Fuel costs have risen sharply…

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