Monday, 5 October 2009

Weak economic recovery puts market recovery at risk

In the wake of the disappointing US employment report on Friday, John Hussman has some cautionary words for investors.

Four weeks ago, I noted that if indeed the economy is in recovery, we have already entered the “show me” phase. The jobs report was dismal on that front, with even overtime hours and temporary workers declining. Those are the first measures that should advance, well before we can expect any turn in headline employment. The unemployment rate met expectations at 9.8%, but only because 571,000 workers left the labor force, dropping out of the calculation entirely.

My view continues to be that the intrinsic condition of the U.S. economy has not improved, and that the green shoots we've observed are a transient artifact of green dollars poured out by the government...

Market internals, as well as the uniformity of action across major indices, should be monitored closely here. The probable economic concerns become quite pointed about 6 months out (when current delinquencies will be transformed into foreclosures and reportable balance sheet losses). That's about the horizon over which the market often begins to pay attention to oncoming trouble, so while we've known about the risk of a second wave of credit problems for a while, we may be at the point where investors begin to act on those prospects.

Nouriel Roubini also sees a possibility of a market correction soon. Bloomberg reports:

New York University Professor Nouriel Roubini, who predicted the financial crisis, said stock and commodity markets may drop in coming months as the gradual pace of the economic recovery disappoints investors.

“Markets have gone up too much, too soon, too fast,” Roubini said in an interview in Istanbul on Oct. 3. “I see the risk of a correction, especially when the markets now realize that the recovery is not rapid and V-shaped, but more like U- shaped. That might be in the fourth quarter or the first quarter of next year.”


Ron said...

If something does not begin to happen to open up credit markets for small businesses, we won't have a V recovery, we will have and upside down U, double-dip recession. We have interviewed small businesses for over 30 years now and have never seen a situation like what we have now. For example, we spoke with a retailer who has run a successful business for the past 35 years. He said that he will close his doors January 1, 2010 if the holiday season is not a good one. We asked him if he preferred today's credit environment to, say, the 22%interest rates of the Carter Administraton. He preferred the Carter Administration because, he said, there was money available. that says a lot.


van schaik said...

True, low interest rates mean nothing if the money isn't there for you to borrow. In March we called for a bear market rally to take stocks to S&P 1,100, then another bear leg down. For now we're sticking with that forecast. The rally isn't over, still too many bears in our opinion, but its days are definitely numbered. Too many people still expect easy money to made in stocks over the longer term: ain't gonna happen.

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