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U.S. corporate profits reached a new record high in the fourth quarter 2010 at $1.25 trillion (at an annual rate), after taxes and adjustments for inventory valuation and capital consumption (see graph above, data here), according to today's BEA report. Compared to the third quarter, corporate profits increased by $39.5 billion last quarter, and that makes eight straight quarterly gains in profits going back to the first quarter of 2009. From the cyclical bottom of $774 billion of profits in the fourth quarter of 2008, profits for U.S. companies have rebounded by 61.5%, and by $476 billion.

Adjusted for inflation (using the Business Sector Deflator), real corporate profits in the fourth quarter 2010 rose above the previous all-time record high of $1.229 trillion Q3 2006 to reach a new record high of $1.25 trillion (see red line in graph above).