Profits, Bank lending, Factory activity, Mtg apps, Auto sales

by WARREN MOSLER

Corporate Profit Crunch Looms as Stocks Slide

(WSJ) In December, analysts cut their earnings forecasts for 2019 on more than half the companies in the S&P 500, according to FactSet, the first time that had happened in two years. They expect earnings for S&P 500 companies to grow 7.8% in 2019, down from their forecast of 10.1% at the end of September, according to FactSet. That is a big climb down from the estimated 22% earnings growth rate in 2018. The last earnings recession took place in 2015 and 2016. The effect was mild, with the S&P 500 falling just 14% from peak to trough, before recovering alongside earnings to end 2016 up 9.5%.

Great Retreat from Global Bank Lending Continues

(WSJ) The total amount of cross-border bank debt has dropped from a peak of $35.453 trillion in the first quarter of 2008 to $29.456 trillion in the second quarter of this year, a fall of nearly 17%. The 10-year period of decline and stagnation is unprecedented in the records of the Bank for International Settlements. German, Dutch and Austrian banks have reduced their foreign loan books by more than half since the first quarter of 2008, while Belgian banks have cut their international exposures by more than 80%. Across Asia, banks have increased their cross-border lending, with Japanese institutions leading the way.

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