With Everything Going On in the World, Corporate America Is Way Too Bullish
CEOs are yucking it up.

What Trump trade war with China? Inflation? Who cares about that?

That general sense of "who cares about risks" has been the name of the game coming off first quarter earnings calls. Execs at the biggest companies sounded more upbeat on their financial prospects than they have in some time, according to fresh research from Goldman Sachs. The investment bank mined the earnings calls of 42 companies to gauge the mood out there in Corporate America. 

The resounding bullishness could bite execs and their investors in the face later this year if a host of macro concerns -- such as inflation and trade wars -- start to collectively weigh on global growth.

Here is what Goldman found.

Economic Data Is Great

Thanks, tax reform.

Says Goldman: "Executives remained upbeat about the economic environment, especially given the boost from tax reform. Corporate management expected relatively strong economic growth to continue through at least the end of 2018, driven in part by tax reform. While they acknowledged that a downturn is inevitable, the consensus among executives across sectors was that the economy still has room to run.

Selected examples: (BXP) , (DFS) , (HST) , (MA) , (TXN) , (USB) .

Inflation Is a Key Risk

Execs were most worried about inflation, as they should be.

"Managers cited rising wages, commodity prices, and logistics costs as potential headwinds to earnings," Goldman says. "A tight labor market, uncertainty in the Middle East, and increased demand drove input costs higher in 1Q. In some cases, firms used hedges to reduce earnings risk."

Selected examples: (AAL) , (CL) , (DRI) , (HAL) , (LUV) , (MCD) , (MMM) , (SBUX) . Darden and 3M are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS.

What Trade War?

Notes Goldman: "Firms expressed optimism that trade conflict would be resolved. Commentary emphasized the support for a free trade environment. Company management did not expect the disputes would escalate and affect global economic growth."

Selected examples: (BA) , (DWDP) , (GM) , (LLY) , (SLB) , (UPS) . DowDupont, Eli Lilly, and Schlumberger are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS.

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