Thursday, April 21, 2005

Markets and Recessions

by Bill McBride on 4/21/2005 09:01:00 PM

It is common wisdom on Wall Street that the market predicts recessions. This story today quoted a market analyst as saying: "The market typically turns down six months to a year before a recession. We could be seeing a recession in 2006."

We might see a recession in 2006, but the markets are not a good predicting tool.

Click on graph for larger image.

Here is the DOW's performance before and after the start of the last 5 recessions. For each recession, the DOW's value was normalized to 100 12 months prior to the start of the recession. The graph shows the median value, and the minimum and maximum for the DOW.

The best that can be said for the market is that it is a solid coincident indicator of a recession.

Here is a graph from a previous post about recession indicators. This shows the SP500's performance and the 1990's recession. The SP500 rallied into the recession and only sold-off after the recession started.

This is another common Wall Street "wisdom" that is incorrect.

UPDATE: Fixed typo on graph.