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This Bear Market May Lead to a Severe Recession—or Not: Hedgeye Analyst

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The bear market we are in the middle of right now in the U.S. could very well be followed by a major recession, if historical precedents are any indication, according to Neil Howe, managing director of demography at Hedgeye Risk Management.

When it comes to bear markets and recessions, “generally, one does lead into another” historically, he said Thursday during a COVID-19 pandemic update webcast by the firm.

However, there have been exceptions, he was quick to add. One notable exception was the Kennedy Slide of 1962 (also known as the Flash Crash of 1962) from December 1961 to June 1962, he said, noting: “That was a pretty serious bear market. It went down 29%.” However, it did not lead to a recession, he told viewers, noting there was a “very strong economic recovery,” driven by high demographic and productivity growth.

(Check out: Coronavirus Guidance for Financial Advisors)

Another exception was the bear market in 1966, he pointed out, noting that was “the one instance where we had an inversion of the yield curve but did not have a recession.” That was despite the fact that it did have a big effect on the economy as growth slowed, including “almost to absolute zero” in one quarter, he said.

The other standout “false alarm would clearly be” the “very sudden crash” of 1987, but there was a “pretty steady recovery” that followed it, he said.

One day earlier, Danielle DiMartino Booth, CEO and chief strategist for Quill Intelligence and a former advisor to the Federal Reserve, said during a Hedgeye webcast that if the current economic crisis gets much worse, we may have to stop discussing the possibility of a recession and instead start worrying about it leading to something even worse.

U.S. housing prices could be significantly harmed by the current crisis, especially if there is a recession, Howe said during the Thursday webcast, telling viewers: “A lot of that just depends on a recession,” noting “recessions are never great for housing.” The “renaissance in extended family living” in which adult kids continue to live with their parents has already been hurting that market, he said.

He went on to assess calls for a complete, 30-day stop to all business globally as “dumb suppression” instead of the “smart suppression” we need.

Most of the Thursday webcast was focused on the current pandemic’s global spread.  The growing number of deaths per day globally is “alarming,” Howe said. The situation in Iran was “disturbing,” he said, noting the death rate was climbing there, that country was not doing enough testing and did not seem to know where the cases are. What was truly “stunning,” meanwhile, was the lack of enough beds for sick patients globally, he said.

(Check out: Coronavirus Guidance for Financial Advisors)


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