The Big Picture: Mar 25, 2024

Many bears have simply given up betting on a downside that, despite plentiful recession indicators, feels increasingly unlikely. Since the S&P 500 completed its Inverted Head & Shoulders pattern back in December, the index has piled on nearly 14% [see: A Look Ahead at 2024.] The many, many bulls point to a generally strong economy, healthy employment picture, and the transformative potential of AI to justify the market’s historically high valuations. The bears see things differently.

For an excellent summation of the bears’ case, take the time to read John Hussman’s Universal Capitulation and No Margin of Safety.  He makes some very compelling points regarding valuations…

We’ve observed greater extremes only twice in U.S. financial history: the week ended December 31, 2021, and the week ended August 26, 1929.

Other market gurus have also rung alarm bells, from Bill Gross’ warning of “excessive exuberance” to Chris Senyek’s concerns about the “potential formation of another late-90’s-style TMT [technology, media and telecom market] bubble” to Jeff Gundlach’s admonition that “this feels a lot like 1999…there’s a lot of risk in markets that have run this far.”  Even perennially bullish Warren Buffett is sitting on $168 billion in cash, and recently wrote that “markets now exhibit far more casino-like behavior than they did when I was young.”

We’ll take a look at some of the most compelling economic data and charts that should provide guidance on the remainder of 2024 and beyond.

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