I wrote recently about the latest UK Timing indicators and a seemingly good recession indicator based on tracking US unemployment data which seems to work on the basis of if the US catches a cold then the rest of the world does too. This included a copy of the latest Credit Suisse Year Book, so if you missed this post, which you can read at the link above, I think the Year Book is worth reading too if you have time this weekend.
In a timely fashion we had the US Non-farm payrolls yesterday which basically is the civilian unemployment rate mentioned in the post above.
This showed the unemployment rate steady at 4.9% despite slightly stronger than expected numbers for the payrolls being reported on the month.
This therefore remains 0.3% below the 12 month moving average for this data, which is positive, as it only signals a recession when it cut up through the moving average. Thus although the timing indicators for the UK market remain negative, this indicator suggest we should not be too worried as a US recession does not appear to be on the immediate horizon. In addition we have now seen a decent rally in the UK market which has taken it back up to and possibly through the first resistance levels and commodity prices like copper and oil have also been showing some signs of strength too suggesting that for now at least the worst of the commodity / growth panic may be over?
To back this up there was, as usual, a useful post over at Adviser Perspectives looking at various measures of The Civilian Labour Force, Unemployment Claims and the Business Cycle. In this they concluded by saying: "If history is a guide, the current ratios of weekly claims to the labour force contradict the minority view that the US is bordering on recession. Instead, the ratios suggests that even a near-term recession would be many months in the future."
Taking a contrary view and not hedging his bets at was this brief piece and interview with legendary investor Jim Rogers who incredibly predicts a 100% probability of a US recession this year! To my mind though he has broken the first rule of forecasting by giving a fixed date or time period. I suspect we will have another recession before too long, but most indicators still seem fine, apart from perhaps the weakness in stock markets, which can be a leading indicator as they tend to look ahead 9 to 12 months. As ever you pay your money
and take your choice and time will tell. So in the meantime, like markets in February, price movements and commentators continue to paint a confusing picture against a fluid back ground. So if your portfolio is giving you sleepless nights here is some music which apparently might help you sleep. Have a great Weekend whatever you are up to - even if it is catching up on your sleep!