Q1 corporate profits fell $43.8 billion quarter-over-quarter, erasing nearly all of their Q4 gains, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens in PDF) released today.
On an annualized basis, the most recent quarter's drop equates to a 7.9% decline in earnings, after gaining 7.5% in the fourth quarter.
While profit fell both domestically ($2 billion) and abroad ($33 billion), a concurrent $13.6 billion decrease in taxes helped keep the bottom line a bit higher for corporations.
Although dividend payments took an exceptionally large $101.7 billion hit, this is more reflective of Q4's accelerated and one-time pre-fiscal-cliff distributions than any significant payout pinch. In what could possibly be a sign of spending aversion, current-production undistributed profits rose $71.4 billion for Q1.