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Economy

Sep 05 2020

Does An Economic Rebound “Inoculate” The Stock Market?

  • Sep 5, 2020

The 2020 decline exhibits a strong resemblance to the “incomplete” bear market of March 2000-September 2001—in that neither decline sufficiently deflated the extreme valuations of the preceding bull, and each was followed by an immediate rebound in reliable valuation measures to top decile levels.

Apr 07 2020

A Cross-Asset Dash For Cash

  • Apr 7, 2020

March’s mad dash for cash didn’t stop with rates/credit/FX markets. Among equities, there was also a strong preference for cash liquidity. The market rewarded companies that had strong cash positions and punished those without—which explains why traditionally defensive styles actually underperformed.

Mar 06 2020

Over-Stimulated?

  • Mar 6, 2020

We can’t count the number of times in the last week we’ve heard analysts worry about “what the Fed might know that we don’t.” In the words of John McEnroe, “You cannot be serious!”

Jan 08 2020

Are Earnings Set To “Gap” Higher?

  • Jan 8, 2020

We are troubled that the bullish optimism has spilled over into the 2020 estimates for S&P 500 earnings. Zero growth in 2020 is probably not a bad guess for NIPA figures, but S&P numbers don’t always follow suit.

Jan 08 2020

Waiting For The Stimulus To Trickle Down...

  • Jan 8, 2020

Last year the Federal Reserve dumped historic stimulus onto a full-employment economy and an already richly-valued stock market. The stock market obviously loved it.

Dec 18 2019

A Small Cap Strategy Session

  • Dec 18, 2019

Leuthold’s research team has recently flagged a number of items that suggest it may be time to consider small cap stocks. This asset class has been showing signs of life and the decision to overweight small caps is starting to seem relevant – and perhaps nicely profitable - again.

Dec 06 2019

Are Stocks And The Economy Disconnected?

  • Dec 6, 2019

The consensus among market pundits is that a U.S. recession will be averted and, as a consequence, domestic stocks remain the best game in town.

Dec 06 2019

How Will It Be Remembered?

  • Dec 6, 2019

A way to gain perspective on the present is by trying to view it from the future. Ask yourself, “What are the signs of impending decline, now ignored by investors, that will one day be memorialized by the same investors as the most obvious in retrospect?”   

Sep 07 2019

We’re All Economists Now!

  • Sep 7, 2019

It’s now been more than 19 months since global stocks peaked on January 26th, 2018. Those lucky enough to have been invested solely in the S&P 500 and to have held on for the volatile ride have a 3.7% gain to show for it. Nice going.

Aug 30 2019

Is A Strengthening Dollar A Form Of Policy Tightening?

  • Aug 30, 2019

Executive summary (for those leaving early for the holiday weekend): No.

We’ve found no reliable relationship between swings in the U.S. Dollar and subsequent variations in U.S. economic growth.

Jul 05 2019

Recession Evidence: How Much Is Enough?

  • Jul 5, 2019

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.

Jun 07 2019

Bust To Boom, And Back Again

  • Jun 7, 2019

Last month, we observed that crude oil was the only item propping up broad-based commodity indexes, and that something was bound to give with the U.S. dollar pushing to new highs.

May 07 2019

Where Are Yields Headed? Look In The Mirror!

  • May 7, 2019

Many economists believe U.S. economic growth will reaccelerate in the second half, sending 10-year Treasury bond yields back above 3% late in the year. A forecasting technique with an excellent record, however, suggests the return to 3% won’t occur until late next decade!

May 07 2019

Divergence, Danger, And Delusion

  • May 7, 2019

The U.S. economy and blue chips have shrugged off the risk of the worst trade war since 1930’s Smoot-Hawley Act, while comparatively few stocks on either the NASDAQ or the NYSE have broken out to 52-week highs. There’s also the troubling talk of the Fed having tamed “the cycle.” Should investors bet on a potentially wild (but narrower) final melt-up over the next 6-12 months? We don’t like the odds.

Apr 05 2019

A Confidence Game

  • Apr 5, 2019

Several consumer confidence gauges plunged in the wake of the Q4 market decline (as expected), and then rebounded in a lagged response to the stock market recovery (again, as expected). But March saw the largest one-month drop in consumers’ assessment of their “Present Situation” since 2008.

Mar 22 2019

Partying Like It’s 1998-99

  • Mar 22, 2019

We thought Jerome Powell’s “Christmas Capitulation” would be tough to beat, but he accomplished that two days ago with what could be called his “Spring Surrender.” That, in turn, has rekindled hopes of a stock market melt-up along the lines of 1998-99, which, as old-timers will remember, followed a late-cycle correction that was nearly identical to the one seen last year.

 

Mar 07 2019

Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

  • Mar 7, 2019

While the celebration over Jerome Powell’s “Christmas Capitulation” lingered throughout February, we’re still awaiting signs the capitulation consisted of anything more than words.

Dec 07 2018

Economic Stocking Stuffers

  • Dec 7, 2018

While the monetary and liquidity backdrop has deteriorated all year, the shorter-term economic evidence has remained mixed.

Nov 07 2018

Too Soon To Expect Economic Weakness?

  • Nov 7, 2018

We believe stocks have begun to discount a major inflection point in the economy and corporate profits for 2019 and 2020.

Oct 05 2018

Stock Market Observations

  • Oct 5, 2018

Throughout the spring and summer, the market could alternatively be characterized as “divergent” or “disjointed”—but until very recently it could not be considered “distributive.” Now, Mid and Small Caps have hit a short-term air pocket and breadth figures were exceptionally poor at September’s scattered highs in the DJIA and S&P 500.

Jul 07 2018

The Bulls And Bears Agree!

  • Jul 7, 2018

Yes, bulls and bears now hold their respective positions for the same reason—i.e., the U.S. economy is exceptionally strong. The stock market is accommodating this rare bipartisanship with sufficient reason to support either position.

May 05 2018

The Market Told You So

  • May 5, 2018

First quarter profits have been terrific, and this quarter’s will be too. Enjoy them, but remember that the market “paid” you for them many months ago. Don’t submit another invoice…

Jan 06 2018

Pressure Points?

  • Jan 6, 2018

The first few trading days of the new year have been a seamless extension of 2017—a low-volatility, “measured” market melt-up.

Dec 07 2017

Not A Tipping Point, But A “Toggle” Point?

  • Dec 7, 2017

Evidently, being a bull in a bull market is no longer good enough.

Jun 07 2017

Goldilocks—Enjoy It While It Lasts

  • Jun 7, 2017

The best interpretation of the current cross-asset message is the scenario of goldilocks, and there are reasons to believe this is a possible scenario for the near term.

May 05 2017

Stock Market Observations

  • May 5, 2017

The S&P 500 has labored beneath its March 1st bull market high for the last two months while underlying breadth and leadership trends have remained mostly favorable.

Apr 07 2017

Spring Forward, Fall Back?

  • Apr 7, 2017

The S&P 500 has gained about 5% on the year, respectable but hardly consistent with the “melt up” scenario we thought might occur.

Jun 07 2016

Rally Extension?

  • Jun 7, 2016

We’ve boosted equity exposure twice in the past several weeks, fully cognizant that it’s not a “textbook” time to do so.

Apr 07 2016

The Fed’s Capitulation To The Dovish Side— A Win-Win For EM & U.S.

  • Apr 7, 2016

We have mentioned a number of times that China had experienced a very unpleasant “second-hand” tightening due to its peg to the dollar. Its trade competitiveness has suffered tremendously. With a weaker dollar the Chinese Yuan can re-gain some of its competitiveness while maintaining its peg to the dollar. A rare win-win in today’s convoluted world of finance.

Mar 08 2016

Big U.S. Banks: We Have A Motion, Is There A Second?

  • Mar 8, 2016

YTD the S&P 500 has fallen 2% while the S&P 500 Banking industry group is down over 12%—a shortfall that has the attention of value investors and contrarians seeking a chance to buy high-quality banking franchises at fire-sale prices.

Oct 07 2015

Stock Market Observations

  • Oct 7, 2015

The August market break did not emerge from out of the blue. The foundation for the bear case was put in place many months before those four ugly days in late August.

Oct 07 2015

Sentiment, The Economy & The Fed

  • Oct 7, 2015

We wrote in the January book that 2015 would serve up no shortage of excuses for the Fed to hold off on tightening all year. Whatever window the Fed may have had is now closed.

Oct 07 2015

Chinese Economic Concerns Are Overdone

  • Oct 7, 2015

The traditional economic indicators are no longer as relevant as people think, and China’s condition may not be as bad as most fear.

Sep 09 2015

Recession? Too Early To Call

  • Sep 9, 2015

Among the various arguments put forward by those believing the recent decline is no more than a correction, the most difficult for us to address is the common claim that “there’s no recession on the horizon.”

Jan 08 2014

The Economy In 2014: Solid But Unspectacular

  • Jan 8, 2014

This year should be a solid but unspectacular one for the U.S. economy, with real GDP growth of about +2.5%. We expect the Consumer Price Index to rise just 1.5%. Unemployment should continue to fall.

Aug 07 2013

The Economy And Earnings

  • Aug 7, 2013

The YTD surge of 19% in the S&P 500 should ensure a stronger second half economy, and the big five-point jump in the latest Purchasing Managers Survey (ISM) might be the first evidence of this.

Jun 07 2013

Stocks And The Economy

  • Jun 7, 2013

We’ve written before about retail investors’ tendency to “conflate” stock market action with movements in the underlying economy. Misunderstanding this interrelationship generally causes the public to liquidate stocks when the economy is weak, only to ultimately buy them back when the economic recovery is obvious to all.

Aug 07 2012

Lowered Expectations — Policy Effectiveness

  • Aug 7, 2012

For central bank policy effectiveness, global economic growth, interest rates, and inflation. While lowered expectations are a good thing in the near term, long term return expectations for most asset classes should be lowered too.

Feb 04 2011

A “Late-Cycle” Economy?

  • Feb 4, 2011

Economic growth is re-accelerating, but that growth is coming at a cost…price pressures are building significantly. Manufacturing prices are up along with commodity prices.

 

Oct 05 2010

Beware The Economic Ticker Tape

  • Oct 5, 2010

It has become more and more difficult to filter out the short term economic noise. By focusing on this minutia, investors can easily lose sight of the big picture.