Stock market an excellent predictor of US recessions
The hot financial topic of discussion at the moment is the likelihood of a US economic recession. Against the background of a deteriorating economic landscape, it is not surprising that more and more commentators have started declaring that a recession was either already underway or just around the corner.
A noteworthy contribution to this debate has just been offered by Asha Bangalore, economist of Northern Trust. Her analysis deals specifically with the movements of the S&P 500 Index just prior to and during a recession. The leading/lagging properties of the Index, and by how much it changes during a recession, are summarized in the table below.
S&P 500 Index – peaks and troughs
Two major conclusions follow from Bangalore’s research:
By the close of the market yesterday the S&P 500 Index was down by 9.5% from its peak in October 2007. Although the expectation of a recession has been gaining support, it does not represent a consensus view by a long shot. Using Bangalore’s analysis of the historical relationship between the stock market and economic cycle as a guide, a rough ride could be in store in the months ahead.
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