N.B. This is research, not investment advice. You invest at your own risk, unlike the Wall Street banks, who also invest at your risk.
The uptick of the unemployment rate from 7.8 to 7.9 has caused our ‘animal spirits’ indicator to put in a top. Continued increases or merely stability of the unemployment rate will cause further losses of confidence.
The underlying judgmental unemployment rate forecast is this:
My forecast is still that the US economy enters recession in the second half of 2013. The two big proximate drivers: the continuing assault on consumption from higher taxes and medical costs; a precautionary demand for liquidity (increased saving rate); the sequester—to any degree—of federal government spending; and to the extent that it impacts the small segment of the population current salivating over stock market gains induced by QEternity, a diminished wealth effect (yes, the implicit stock market forecast is that we’re at a major top—I called it a year ago but the presidential election year got in the way—this cycle is very reminiscent of the early 1970s, and we’re at about the turn from 1972 to 1973). Throw in Europe in various states of severe recession and depression, and the likelihood of some slowdown in China, and we have the potential for a coordinated global contraction, almost as if the signs all say we are at the end of the [high?] growth age….
Here is the whole history:
Note how depressed the Michigan Consumer Sentiment index is, just as it was in the early ‘Seventies. The drop-off from here could be precipitous from here. Even somewhat proven indicators such as the “Rule of 20” show the market looking toppy (yellow line is where the blue S&P line is supposed to be):