Why There Is No Growth: The Entire S&P 500 Free Cash Flow Is Going Back To Shareholders

by Zerohedge

In perhaps the best example of just how massive the impact of returns to shareholders have become, Deutsche Bank shows a snapshot the S&P's consolidated income statement as of 1995 and 2015. While there are some clearly material changes transformations: the rise of financials' revenues above energy companies for one, the drop in net interest expense margin courtesy of ZIRP, the record high net income margin as a result of massive, if double seasonally-adjusted layoffs, one thing stick outs: virtually all of the corporate Free Cash flow in 2015 will go back to shareholders, as dividends and buybacks represent 94% of total S&P FCF uses.

Contrast this with "only" 60% of FCF in 1995 going back to shareholders and one can see why the US economy is caught in secular contraction in which virtually nobody wants to invest for the future and instead is forced to distribute all unretained earnings here and now.

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