​The Third-Longest Expansion in U.S. History: What's Next?

Hedgeye  |


Boldly proclaiming market and economic tops might grab headlines and make you popular in certain circles, but that’s not an investable process. The reality is that bottoms are processes, not points.

Take a look at the history of U.S. economic cycles below. We award the current cycle a bronze medal in terms of its longevity. And if you’re a student of economic history, you’ll understand that there is absolutely nothing “average” about this cycle—or any other cycle for that matter.

You can see that the second-longest U.S. expansion without a recession lasted 106 months. That was during the 1960s. Meanwhile, the record for the longest economic expansion ever comes in at 120 months—an entire decade. That of course ended in the early 2000s.

No economic cycle dies of old age. What a cycle does die of however is decelerating data. That’s what I’m on the lookout for right now.

Here’s what happens with cycles. First, they stop accelerating. Then the economic cycle begins to slow. Then they move into outright recession. In the United States’ case, the last one was fairly dramatic in terms of market reaction, but you could barely see the one in 2001.

So the key here is to focus on the numbers, not what you think the stock market's valuation should be. At the end of the day, valuation is not a catalyst. Stock market bears frequently cite "expensive" valuations. Our study of historically "pricey" price-to-earnings ratios puts the kibosh on the valuation argument and explains why stocks can indeed head higher.

The deep simplicity of it is all is just this: If you’re measuring and mapping the data, you can unequivocally point to where GDP bottomed which, in rate of change terms, was 1.2% in Q2 of 2016. That’s when bond yields and bond proxies bottomed. You saw multiple expansion, and factors like growth and cyclicals picked up as well.

From that bottom, we've accelerated to 2.2% in the second quarter of 2017. The latest economic data, from new orders, to productivity, to income growth, is signaling to investors that U.S. growth continues higher from here.

By Keith McCullough, the Founder and CEO of Hedgeye Risk Management.

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DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.


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