Inflation Stalks Corporate America's Bottom Line

Yesterday's second quarter earnings announcement from Walmart offered up the clearest signal yet that inflation is poisoning America's economic well, as consumers are dropping a range of retail purchases in order to pay for gas and groceries.

Walmart, which is the biggest grocer in the U.S. and often considered a bellwether for the overall economy, said more customers are turning to its stores, which are known for low prices, to fill their pantries and fridges. But they are skipping over general merchandise that they can live without.

In a consumer-driven economy, what harms consumers eventually hurts even the Fortune 500. Right now, inflation is wreaking havoc with consumers’ wallets, and is having the predictable impact on corporate profit margins.

The question now is how much will the Fed's willingness to destroy even more demand hurt the economic outlook in the near term?