Ritholtz on the Yield-Curve Inversion

In a recent Bloomberg article, columnist Barry Ritholtz wrote that the yield-curve inversion that occurred earlier this month begs the question: “What might trigger the next recession and what might it look like?”

He lists the following potential triggers, as “cited by pundits and commentators:”

  • Geopolitical events—including an escalation in the Middle East that could “send oil prices spiraling” or unforeseen events such as a “potential pandemic developing in China.”
  • Tech— “Gains in tech stocks have been driving equity markets higher for a decade,” writes Ritholtz, but he notes that tech is dominating today because it is “so wildly profitable.” While the sector would suffer during a recession, he argues “there’s not really much to suggest that valuations are spiraling out of control. In other words, it’s hard to see how a tech bust itself will be the source of the next recession.”
  • The Fed—could decide to raise rates as an “insurance policy against higher prices.” The impact on credit availability and costs could reduce corporate earnings and lead to layoffs and reduced business investment, which Ritholtz notes is “already in the doldrums. The economy suffers a modest contraction.”