While consensus opinion says that the current sluggishness in economic growth is only temporary, Marketwatch's Anora Mahmudova says earnings weakness could be a harbinger of problems for the greater economy.
Société Générale’s chief global strategist Albert Edwards is unequivocal about a looming recession, though he has been calling for one for quite some time.
In March 2015, he pointed to a profit deterioration, saying that in the past that was typically followed by an economic recession. Since that call and over the past 13 months, the S&P 500 has seen two corrections of more than 10% and is down about 3%.
Last week, Edwards, in a note to investors, said that his recession indicators have stopped flashing amber and have turned red.
“My own observation has led me to the conclusion that when whole-economy profits begin to fall sharply, this is usually followed shortly after by the overall economy tipping over into recession, driven by the volatile business investment cycle,” he wrote.
Mahmuudova also cites ConvergEx’s chief market strategist Nicholas Colas arguments for a possible recession.
U.S. GDP growth trends are slowing and Q1 may be a goose egg. Interest rates remain low – the 10-year Treasury is at 1.7% – driven in large part by the near-recessionary levels of output elsewhere in the world and a slowing Chinese economy. Lastly, Fed Funds Futures show only a 59% chance of one rate increase in 2016 – a coin flip with “Recession” (or close to it) on one side of the disk.