The Flinchum File

Thoughtful Economic Analysis and Existential Opinions
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Almost Showtime ??

While there is always an economic recession in front of us, a recession is not necessary for the stock market to sustain a 10% correction or even a 20% bear market.  Likewise, a stock market slump does not reliably predict a recession.

The current stock market slump started with the January Jobs Report, which indicated inflation was back, due to a 2.9% year-over-year increase in average worker earnings.  That meant interest rates would come faster than expected, to cool down inflation.  Then, it was revealed that two wildly successful tech giants were mere privacy-pirates, putting their continued business model in doubt.  Then, the president began brow-beating another tech giant.  Small wonder that this market slump is tech-lead.

Behind it all, I see growing anxiety about a possible trade war.  While it may be little more than a trade slap than a trade war at this point, the downside is huge.  The system of international trade that was painstakingly built over the last century has been turned upside-down with uncertainty.  Maybe, that is not all-bad?  That system was not well-suited to evolve in a world with an ever-increasing rate of change.

It was a China Shop, and Trump was the bull.  The system was Humpty-Dumpty, and I hope somebody can put it back together again.  The removal of any small amount of uncertainty would cause the stock market to rally strongly.  We need to see The Art of the Deal, not some “short-fingered vulgarian” as described in Vanity Fair.