Chart: Declining U.S. profits

Bloomberg: "On Friday, when U.S. markets were closed, new data showed U.S. corporate profits plunged 11.5 percent in the fourth quarter, the biggest annual drop since the financial crisis. Analysts are currently debating the meaning of the collapse, with many attributing much of the decline to the struggling energy sector, including a big fine paid by oil giant BP. Others however, see the drop as something more pervasive and troubling. The decline in profits “likely reflects the beginnings of a profit-margin squeeze driven by tighter labor markets, rising wages and weak productivity,” JPMorgan’s Jesse Edgerton told Bloomberg News. Analysts, economists, and investors seeking clues to back these two competing narratives will get some this week, as a raft of U.S. data points — including Friday's all-important March jobs report — is on the way."


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