Stories by Courtenay Brown

S&P sales and profit are moving in the wrong direction

With more than 80% of S&P 500 companies now having reported fourth quarter results, it's becoming clear that sales growth is slowing but profit growth has plunged.

Adapted from The Earnings Scout Report; Note: Only 419 companies have reported in Q4 2019; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

3 stock exchanges take on the SEC

In this illustration, two red boxing gloves hang in front of a rising arrow stylized as a stock market graph. In the background, the logo of the SEC is visible.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Nasdaq, NYSE and the Cboe are seeking to block their regulator, the SEC, from implementing a new pricing program. The 3 exchanges say the program would harm investors by driving up trading costs, but those who are in favor of the rule say investors are better off.

Why it matters: The SEC says what's been called the "biggest stock market experiment in more than a decade" is designed to benefit retail investors. But the stock exchanges are fighting back against a major prong in Trump appointee Jay Clayton's push to re-regulate stock exchanges.

The concentration of corporate debt

Data: Wells Fargo Investment Institute; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Non-financial S&P 500 companies with the least cash are piling on the biggest loads of debt.

By the numbers: More than half of the S&P 500's total cash is held within just 25 companies — or the top 5% — while the bottom 95% of companies hold 73% of the index's debt, according to the Wells Fargo Investment Institute.

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