Does the poor performance of the stock market in May indicate that the U.S. is headed for a new recession?
June 15, 2012
This question comes up frequently when the market takes a dip. While it is true that the stock market does sometimes anticipate a recession, the market is far from an accurate economic indicator. As the Nobel prizewinning economist Paul Samuelson once said, “The stock market has predicted nine of the last five recessions.” In fact, in the last few days as I was preparing to write this, the market has already staged a sharp turnaround. Bottom line: don’t try to time the market!
(Question submitted by Richard M.)
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Our answer is “No, at least not for many decades,” but many investors appear to disagree. When some retailers posted disappointing results last autumn, many retail stocks dropped 40-50% from highs set only a few months earlier.
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George reminds value investors: "Fortunately, many of the factors...just aren't present in the market, and the other reason that investors seem to be down on the banks is they sort of expected the Fed to raise interest rates a little faster than they have. And the banks do better when interest rates are rising because they have wider margins on their loans, but I think the Fed will gradually raise rates to we will see profits improve, and so I think this downturn is really temporary."
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