Slate ran an article on November 26, 2012, claiming that 88% of the earnings growth in the S&P 500 companies came from just 10 companies, with nearly 60% of that growth coming from 4 among this 10: Bank of America, Apple, AIG, and Goldman Sachs. And keep in mind that Citi and Wells Fargo were also among these top 10. Here is the article:
What conclusions can we draw from this:
1. Apple, which was the biggest single contributor to earnings growth, is one heck of a company to be able to generate these kinds of earnings in a world where the only other folks who can make money are banks and insurers.
2. These figures may be skewed because large banks and insurers had their earnings sharply depressed in recent years.
3. The financial collapse has done little to stop the inordinate flow of profits to the FIRE (Finance, insurance, real estate) sector of the economy.