Profits Still Rising Despite Sticky Inflation

| May 06, 2024

After a strong first quarter for stocks, some April showers rained down as the S&P 500 fell about 4% last month (but hopefully those showers will bring some flowers in May.)

While stocks have delivered solid gains this year, the steady growth of the U.S. economy alongside rising corporate profits increase the chances of more gains ahead. Last week’s data on gross domestic product looked soft on the surface, as the U.S. economy grew just 1.6% in the first quarter. But inventories and trade masked strong underlying consumer and business demand. Consumer spending rose at a solid 2.5% pace, while capital investment rose 2.9%. Economists looking for a slowdown keep asking: are we there yet? The economy may slow later this year, but we’re not there yet.

So, what caused stocks to dip? Beyond some digestion of strong gains through March, stubborn inflation and higher interest rates were the main culprits. As the downtrend in inflation has stalled recently, expectations for the start of the Federal Reserve’s rate-cutting campaign have been pushed out. With the Fed’s preferred inflation measure stuck near 3%, markets now expect one, or possibly two rate cuts this year, down from near six at the start of the year. Expect inflation to ease later this year as demand likely slows, but patience will be required.

If you’re concerned about a bigger slide, the numbers during corporate earnings season — now more than half complete — may be reassuring. A solid 80% of S&P 500 companies have beaten earnings estimates so far this quarter, with more than 8% average upside relative to estimates. Results from the big technology companies have mostly exceeded high expectations. And perhaps the most important earnings measuring stick, estimates have moved higher and provide evidence of upbeat guidance from corporate managements.

With the economy growing steadily and corporate profits rising, the near-term outlook for stocks still looks supportive. As always, there will be rainy days. Sticky inflation remains a thorn in the market’s side and geopolitics are a potential stumbling block. But for markets, expect more flowers than showers in May and potentially beyond.

As always, please reach out to me with questions.


Bryan Foronjy, CFP®

Founder and Principal Wealth Manager

Foronjy Financial

CA Insurance Lic. # 0F84170


Schedule an office (or phone) appointment here:


San Luis Obispo Office Contact Information:

(805) 543-1033

956 Walnut St, #200
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401


Santa Barbara Office Contact Information:

(805) 880-9444

401 Chapala St, #105
Santa Barbara, CA 93101


Bryan Foronjy is a registered representative with, and securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Mariner Independent Advisor Network, a registered investment advisor.  Mariner Independent Advisor Network and Foronjy Financial are separate entities from LPL Financial.

The information contained in this email message is being transmitted to and is intended for the use of only the individual(s) to whom it is addressed. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, you are hereby advised that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this message is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please immediately delete.

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of May 1, 2024.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P500) is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price.

There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.

RES-0001191-0424W | For Public Use | Tracking #573327 (Exp.05/2025)