For Better, For Worse

If you want to feel better about the present state of general conditions, take a look at our charts below on small business optimism, hiring and capital expenditure plans (which happen to be components in our macro index):  latest move (reported yesterday) circled in green…

click to enlarge

If you want to feel worse (not that you would), here, released this morning, is from “the world’s longest-running and most comprehensive research on senior finance executives”, The Duke CFO Global Business Outlook:

More than half (52%) of U.S. CFOs believe the U.S. will be in an economic recession by the end of 2020, and 76% predict a recession by mid-2021.

Seventy-nine percent of CFOs in Asia believe their countries will be in recession by the fourth quarter of 2020, as do the majority of CFOs in Africa (77%), Canada (67%) and Latin America (55%). Forty-nine percent of CFOs in Europe expect a recession by the end of 2020.

Fifty-six percent of U.S. companies indicate they are taking steps to prepare for a recession.

Among these firms, 59% are strengthening their balance sheets, 58% are reducing costs, 49% are increasing liquidity, and 31% are scaling back or delaying investment.

Fifty-four percent of U.S. firms indicate they are unlikely to spend their cash holdings during 2020 to preserve liquidity and spending power should a recession take hold and tighten lending markets.

Yes, those are very conflicting views on the future; and when we square them with the other 80+ data points we track in our macro index, along with the fact that only three (Brazil, France and Russia) of the additional 18 countries we monitor currently score in the green, well, let’s just say that this is no time to be aggressive in the equity market(s).


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