A contraction of 3% or more in the LEI’s six-month annualized rate-of-change has always been associated with a recession, with an average lead time of four months. Using that guideline, the most recent recession warning was triggered in June 2022, and the lead time is now approaching the longest ever recorded (16 months in 2006-07). If today’s lead time matches the 2006-07 experience, the business-cycle peak will occur in October.
Over a 12-month horizon, we now believe a U.S. recession is very likely, but aren’t confident enough to make the call when the forecast window is cut in half. Second-half stock returns could be decent if the business-cycle peak is still a year away. Then again, there’s peril in waiting for “too much” confirmation of recession.
The S&P 500 has rallied 9.2% in the 22 trading days since its June 3rd low, but the move hasn’t (yet) been enough to lift the Major Trend Index out of its negative zone.