Corporate profits fell 17.5% in first quarter

The Commerce Department reported corporate profits after taxes plummeted 17.5 percent from January through March, the largest quarterly drop since the 1980 recession (when they declined 19.9 percent), and the second-largest drop since 1953 (when they dipped 21.7 percent).

The department also revised downward the US gross national product for the first quarter to a decline of 4.2 percent, from the originally reported 3.9 percent. All figures were seasonally adjusted annual rates.

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