The economy has halted for the past several weeks, and with it the longest economic expansion ever has ended, meaning we are now in a recession. What makes this recession unique is the government intentionally brought it on, with the chances for an economic bounce back later this year high if the virus is contained. If this recession becomes one of the shortest on record, as we expect, stocks may enjoy better times ahead, as stocks historically have led the economy out of recessions.
Stocks soared last week, working off historically oversold levels. Although the impact to our economy and American workers has been devastating, we did see some positive developments from monetary and fiscal stimulus, which could set up a powerful eventual economic rebound. This week, we share an update on our Road to Recovery Playbook, as we have seen more signs of a major low in equities. We have upgraded our equities recommendation to overweight from market weight where appropriate.
Stock market volatility has remained high as investors continue to closely track COVID-19 containment efforts while getting a glimpse into how damaging travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing have been on the US economy. We continue to watch for signs of a peak in new cases in the United States, which would allow investors to start thinking about a resumption of economic activity and a potentially powerful economic rebound in the second half of this year. In the meantime, stocks may revisit the March lows.
Last week, we revised our economic and market forecasts as the war against the COVID-19 pandemic wages on. We are likely in recession now, though we won’t know that for sure until more timely data is released. What is clear, however, is stocks have priced in a recession. We offer our latest thoughts on the bottoming process and take a deeper dive into our updated economic and market forecasts.