Hidden indicator? Execs aren’t saying “peak” on earnings calls as much as before

Commanding heights.
Commanding heights.
Image: Reuters/Rick Wilking
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Corporate America has peaked.

More precisely, execs at large US companies aren’t talking about “peaks”—peak sales, peak credit, peak oil, peak anything—as much as they used to on earnings calls and presentations. On a rolling annual basis, peak “peak” peaked late last year, according to a transcript search via Sentieo.

In just the past few days, Lorenzo Simonelli of Baker Hughes noted that the oil-equipment group’s activity in the Middle East “will remain well below prior cycle peaks.” Doyle Simons of paper group Weyerhaeuser noted that lumber prices peaked in June (at $582 per MBF, for reference). And John Morikis of paint giant Sherwin-Williams captured the prevailing mood:

You’ve seen it in the business press over the past month or two—an increasing number of stories suggesting that the peak of this economic expansion may be behind us. And it’s not hard to find evidence in the form of economic data to support this thesis.

For his part, Corey Sanders of MGM Resorts noted that “there are peaks and valleys in almost every quarter.” That may be so, but recent corporate chatter suggests that it’s mostly downhill from here.