There are many hopes and dreams surrounding the massive multiple expansion of 2013 (that Goldman has warned is entirely unsustainable). Top-line growth is already disappointing in the current results season. The bottom-line is going nowhere but faith remains that we are not near 'peak margins'. While financial engineering (e.g. buybacks) remain possible (though harder in a Fed tapering, rising rate, credit saturated environment) the following chart from Philly Fed data indicates that a 'belief' in the margin story is over - as the spread between prices paid and prices received plunges to its lowest since April 2009 (and in line with previous recessionary periods).
And over the past 30 years, this has not been a good sign...