David Fuller's view -
Corporate earnings peaked at $1.845 trillion (£1.3 trillion) in the second quarter of 2015, and recessions typically start five to seven quarters after the peak. "We will not be dancing on the volcano like so many others," said Saint-Georges.
If we are lucky it will be a slow denouement with a choppy sideways market going nowhere for another year as the US labour market tightens, and workers at last start to claw back a greater share of the economic pie.
The owners of capital have had it their way for much of the post-Lehman era, exorbitant beneficiaries of central bank largesse. Now they may have to give a little back to society. Yet this welcome “rotation” spells financial trouble.
Strategists Mislav Matejka and Emmanuel Cau, from JP Morgan, have told clients to prepare for the end of the seven-year bull run, advising them to trim equities gradually and build up a safety buffer in cash. “This is not the stage of the US cycle when one should be buying stocks with a six to 12-month horizon. We recommend using any strength as a selling opportunity,” they said.
Their recent 165-page report on the subject is a sobering read. The price-to-sales ratio (P/S) of US stocks is higher than any time in the sub-prime boom. Share buy-backs are at an historic high in relation to earnings (EBIT). Net debt-to-equity ratios have blown through their historical range.
This is happening despite two quarters of tighter lending by US banks. Spreads on high-yield debt have doubled since 2014, jumping by 300 basis points even after stripping out the Energy bust. The list goes on; the message is clear. “One should be cutting equity weight before the weakness becomes obvious,” they said.
There are a number of good points in this article, inspired by the bearish 165-page report from JPMorgan mentioned above, which I assume Jamie Dimon would have encouraged given his recent comments.
This item continues in the Subscriber’s Area where some conflicting evidence is illustrated and discussed. A PDF of AE-P’s article is also available.
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