Weekend Reading: What's Priced Into the Stock Market?

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
Weekend reading recession risk bear markets Weekend reading recession risk bear markets
Weekend Reading

It might feel like the market is pricing in a recession, but is it really?


What history tells us: Here, author Ben Carlson reflects on some of the biggest market crashes of the past 50-ish years, and interestingly enough, they weren’t always able to track economic contractions ahead of time. While in some cases the market surged ahead of the economy, other times it “fell asleep at the wheel”. For example, during 2008’s market crash, we didn’t even hit “bear market territory” until July, at which point we were already eight months into a recession.

When markets move ahead: On the other hand, the market played a better “front-running” role in the early 1980s, when we experienced an economic landscape similar to now with inflation, rising interest rates and Fed tightening measures. When we officially entered a recession, the S&P 500 was down six percent, but as it came to an end, the stock market surged back up to all-time highs. Additionally, the bear market we experienced in the mid-1970s took pause and waited until the recession was officially underway before crashing.

Computing the complex: So, what does this all mean? Today’s bizarre economic climate contains conflicting data and only time will tell how it plays out. Some statistics show we’re slowing down, while other data displays the resilience we have seen in the face of record-high inflation. Keep in mind that we don’t need to be in a recession to go into a bear market, and as such, the market doesn’t need to be pricing in a recession. There’s a possibility that it’s actually pricing in higher interest rates and inflation and therefore, going through an adjustment period.

My two cents: Your ability to maintain patience and a long-term time horizon is essential; however, in order to do so, you will need a plan that provides you that ability in the first place.