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Goldman Sachs summarizes the conference calls of S&P 500 companies in 4 broad themes:Increased willingness to invest for growth
Companies are willing to invest for growth: capex in Energy, marketing and client service in Financials, engineers in Information Technology, R&D in Health Care, and re-starting capacity in Materials.
Cost inflation is a key concern for certain companies
Concerns about input cost inflation were prevalent in some sectors but absent in others. Rising commodity and inputs costs are the chief concern for managements in Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples and select Industrials companies.
Outlook remains positive for margins
Low labour cost inflation, large cost cuts during the recession, and incremental efficiency gains explain why managements are confident they can expand margins modestly in 2011.
Consensus bullish EM but mixed view on pace of US recovery
Impressive growth in emerging markets revenue and earnings coupled with an optimistic outlook were the norm for companies with foreign operations, particularly in China.