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Tags: Puplava | recession | economy | earnings

Money Manager Puplava: Talk of Recession Is Overdone

By    |   Friday, 24 April 2015 07:20 AM EDT

The U.S. economy is in better shape than pessimists claim it is, says Chris Puplava, portfolio manager at PFS Group.

While analysts predict a decline in earnings for the first quarter, that's no cause for alarm, he writes in a commentary. "Since 1960 we have seen quarterly negative earnings in non-recessionary years 31 times with the market up 60 percent of those times," Puplava says.

Then there's the economy's slowdown last quarter, with the Atlanta Federal Reserve's forecasting model showing growth of just 0.1 percent.

"Others are citing the dismal March jobs report as evidence the U.S. is slipping into a recession," Puplava notes.

"While it is true employment trends slowed markedly in March, one weak data point does not make a trend. Economic data can be quite noisy from month to month and understanding how business cycles end helps to filter this noise."

Excesses such as asset bubbles, excessive spending or high inflation mark the end of economic growth, Puplava says. "As of today none of these excesses are present, which leads me to believe that recession risk still remains far off."

However, he notes that the U.S. might be in for a bumpy ride.

Debate rages as to how strong the economy really is. Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers has suggested for more than a year that it might be suffering from "secular stagnation" — a prolonged period of weakness marked by a surplus of savings over investment.

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, in his blog, recently took issue with Summers' view, offering a more positive take on the economy.

Ray Dalio, head of the world's biggest hedge fund management firm, Bridgewater Associates, sides with Summers. "We [the United States, Europe and Japan] are in a period of secular stagnation," Dalio wrote in a note to investors obtained by CNBC.

With interest rates so close to zero, central banks have little room to ease further, he explained. The result will be less lending, less investment and thus less economic growth. The Fed has kept its federal funds rate at a record low of zero to 0.25 percent since December 2008.

"Interest rate declines and debts increasing faster than incomes to pull demand and economic activity higher are largely a thing of the past," Dalio wrote.

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The U.S. economy is in better shape than pessimists claim it is, says Chris Puplava, portfolio manager at PFS Group.
Puplava, recession, economy, earnings
Friday, 24 April 2015 07:20 AM
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