The Stock Market Still Seems to Believe the Fed

Economic indicators show that a slowdown might be in the offing, even though the Fed has been raising rates and the labor market continues to tighten, according to a New York Times article from earlier this month.

Despite the occasional surge in technology stocks and the steady drop in energy shares, the article says the market continued to push forward through the second quarter. But some investment advisers are developing concern that if the economic weakness persists, “it may be time to start believing their own eyes and lighten up on stocks,” that article says.

Other indicators that support the absence of economic growth include a flattening yield curve (long-term bond yields have decreased while short-term have risen). Inversion could point to a recession.

The article offers comments by Scott Klimo, co-manager of the Sextant International Fund, in which he warns ” that investors had become conspicuously complacent,” but adds that the stock market could continue plugging along for a while “absent some external shock.”

Edward Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, believes that the economy’s performance is much like that in 2010 and that although first quarter performance was modest, slower growth in the labor force should be taken into consideration. He doesn’t, as quoted in the article, “see any particular reasons to get out of stocks or bonds at this point.”

“As long as inflation remains subdued,” Yardeni argues, “and as long as we don’t have a recession, bonds and stocks should continue to work.”