Displaying items by tag: recession
While the stock market had a little blip because of coronavirus, prices are already back to all-time highs. That might be very misguided. The market appears to be discounting the huge effects coronavirus is having on the Chinese economy, which has completely ground to a halt according to some reports. Investors have been complacent about the risk because when SARS happened in 2003, there was a strong v-shaped recovery. However, at that point the Chinese economy was growing at 11%, not at the barely 6% it is today. The global economy itself is only a few tenths of a percentage point off what most would consider a downturn, so things are fragile to begin with. Speaking about the market’s bullish outlook, Stephen Roach, former chief economist and chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia says “This is a market where if you declared it was World War III, they would rally on reconstruction. It’s pretty ludicrous the optimism that is built in”.
FINSUM: If that quote does not hit the nail on the head, we don’t know what does.
Stocks are roughly flat on the year, and there is a growing body of evidence that we may have finally come to the end of this economic and market cycle. Commercial construction is slowing, car sales have peaked, and banks are tightening lending standards even as demand is falling—all signs of an economy headed downward. According to Mike Larsson of Weiss Ratings “It is the type of stuff you see at the end of credit and economic cycles … I am concerned about the durability of this market and economic expansion”.
FINSUM: Only time will tell if the economy slows down. If so, markets will probably follow suit. Q4 GDP numbers were not nearly as good as they looked, as without trade war related boosts, growth would have only been 0.6%.
With the big fall on Friday, a new and important reality has hit the stock market—indexes are actually down on the year. This is eye-opening because stocks came into the year with huge momentum from 2019’s big gains. However, between earnings and the Wuhan virus, stocks have taken a big hit. Adding to these fears is the fact that China just had a disastrous 8% loss today and there are escalating worries over how this virus might impact global growth.
FINSUM: Our own view is that the damage this virus has done to stocks is transitory and buy-the-dip might still be the best strategy.
The global economy has not been in worse shape from a trade perspective n several years. Despite progress in the trade war between China and the US, global trade continued to drop in the past couple of months and was down over 1% from its 2018 level in November. Perhaps most worryingly, the falls were broad-based, with the Eurozone, the US, Latin America, and emerging Asia all seeing falls in trade.
FINSUM: The big question here is whether this is just policy-related or whether there is a real decline in economic momentum that is not yet showing up in other figures. Time will tell.
For around a year now, the yield curve has been scaring investors. The inversion of the curve sent a grave warning sign to the market that a recession may be on its way. Many investors fled the market for fear of a big reversal. However, as we enter 2020, the yield curve is sending a very different signal—optimism. The curve is at its steepest level since October 2018, showing investors’ increasing confidence in the US economy. One CIO described the situation this way, saying “If the stock market is right that everything is amazing, I don’t see how long rates can stay as low as they are … The stock market is rallying on hope. Hope that things will inflect higher with this trade deal and Fed accommodation”.
FINSUM: If there is one thing we have learned in the last decade, it is that the Fed does not want to over-hike on rates. Overall, we think this is a very healthy direction for yields.