Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Today we want to return to our world-famous Calcbench earnings template, a spreadsheet we use to track companies’ quarterly financial performance as they file their earnings releases. We last peeked at this template on Feb. 2, when Q4 filings had just started to arrived.

We now have hundreds of filings from the S&P 500, giving us a much more complete picture of how Corporate America is doing. So far it seems to be doing pretty good. 

As you can see in Figure 1, below, which reflects earnings reports filed through Feb. 16, both revenue and net income for Q4 2023 rose from their year-earlier periods. 

Even more interesting, however, is that the cost of goods sold was essentially flat compared to the year-earlier period, at just under $1.5 trillion for the whole group. 

Let’s remember, the markets threw a mini-meltdown last week when the Consumer Price Index rose 0.3 percent in January from December prices. That was higher than expected, and suggested that inflation might not be fading as quickly as people had assumed, and then everyone freaked out.

Perhaps January prices were higher compared to Q4 2023. Perhaps those price pressures will level off in February and March, and cost of goods sold for Q1 2024 (when those numbers start to arrive in late April) will look as flat as they do in Figure 1. Perhaps the cost of supplies is flat for corporations, and prices are rising because companies are trying to squeeze consumers — the so-called “greedflation” theory that has plenty of traction in some business press. 

Our point here is simply that Calcbench has the data to help you perform your own analysis as quickly as possible, with the latest data around. If Calcbench subscribers wish to get their hands on the spreadsheet we used for the data here, use this link to the file. Please note that it will only work with an active Calcbench subscription.

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