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Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation is on everyone’s mind, as prices for goods and services have jumped over the last few months. But many of the market participants and company executives who are talking about inflation are also admitting that it may not be that big of a deal.

Why it matters: Runaway prices could erode consumer spending power and pressure corporate profit margins.

Catch up quick: New survey data released on Monday from Deutsche Bank shows 61% of financial market professionals say higher than expected inflation is the largest risk to markets.

During the Q1 earnings season, 197 of the S&P 500 companies discussed inflation on earnings calls. This was the highest number in at least 10 years, according to FactSet.

But, but, but: FactSet analyst John Butters took a closer look at what companies were saying and found — despite rising costs — many of them were actually raising expectations for profit margins and net earnings over the past three months.

  • "For the entire S&P 500, both the estimated earnings growth rate (34.8% vs. 24.9%) and estimated net profit margin (12.1% vs. 11.4%) are also higher today compared to March 15," Butters wrote in a report.

Go deeper: And while the Deutsche Bank survey found market pros are concerned about inflation, it also found that 72% believe the recent bout of inflation is either "mostly transitory" or "virtually all transitory."

  • That suggests they think inflation is, at most, a temporary risk.

The intrigue: For years, the primary way companies lifted profits was by cutting costs. Now, it seems companies are finding they can raise prices faster than costs are rising, thanks to a customer ready to spend.

Threat level: Runaway inflation can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If enough people are worried about it even in the short term, business owners could raise prices proactively, or consumers could start hoarding goods.

What’s next: As we enter the second half, it remains to be seen when the supply chain bottlenecks and the labor shortages driving inflation will eventually ease up.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 28, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The energy crises roiling Europe and China — and beyond

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Energy crises in Europe and China are spilling into economic forecasts, supply chains and beyond.

Driving the news: Europe has for weeks been facing sky-high natural gas and power prices, while China — the world's second-largest economy — is facing electricity shortages that are hobbling factories.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.