Need to Know: The bull market for stocks may be old, but it’s not dead yet, say Citi strategists

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A prior version of this report gave an incorrect title for Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles. The story has been corrected.

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Still standing?

We’ll know soon if the pullback in the U.S. manufacturing sector is poisoning the rest of the economy.

Ahead of us on Thursday is the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing survey, which comes after a grim manufacturing report earlier this week that heightened recession fears. And Friday’s big U.S. jobs report is still to come.

We’ve seen 48 hours of equity dumping by investors from unsettling economic, political and trade headlines. Welcome to the “realm of emotional selling,” cautions CrackedMarket blogger Jani Ziedins. “Emotional sell-offs go further and last longer than routine dips.”

Where are the optimists when you need them? Enter our call of the day from Citi strategists, who say it’s ”too early to call the end of this 10-year global bull market,” as they forecast more gains for global equity markets, led by the S&P 500.

If the biggest threat to their call — a global recession — can be avoided, the S&P can reach 3,300 by the end of 2020, predicts a Citi team led by Robert Buckland. That’s just over a 14% gain from Wednesday’s close.

While Buckland and his team admit the risks to the global economy are rising, they note only four out of 18 factors on their so-called Bear Market Checklist are flashing sell signals for stocks. That compares to 2000 and 2007, when 17.5 and 13 factors, respectively, were saying get out of equities.

“In previous cycles, the BMC red flags have accumulated gradually before rising exponentially in the last year of the bull market,” they add.

Worrying factors for now, they say, include stretched corporate balance sheets and cyclically high profitability for companies. Another concern is an inverted U.S. yield-curve — when the yield on the 10-year Treasury note TMUBMUSD10Y, -1.23%  is below that of the yield on the 2-year note TMUBMUSD02Y, -1.08%  — because it has been a “good lead indicator of previous recessions,” the collapse of company earnings and global bear markets, they say.

Here’s that checklist:

The market

It looks like a mild bounce is in the making, with Dow YM00, -0.03%    , S&P ES00, +0.01%     and Nasdaq NQ00, +0.09%  futures modestly higher. Oil US:CLV19 and gold GCZ19, +0.07% are down, while the dollar DXY, -0.01% is up some.

Read: The 25 S&P 500 stocks that ended higher on Wall Street’s worst day in 6 weeks

European stocks SXXP, -0.26% are a mixed bag, while the Nikkei NIK, -2.01%  and Australian XJO, -2.21%  tumbled in the wake of those big U.S. losses Wednesday.

The chart

What record highs? Our chart of the day is inspired by the blogger behind the Heisenberg Report, who reminds us that in two years, the S&P 500 has gone nowhere.

From January 2018, the S&P 500 is virtually right back where it started as this chart shows:


Oh well, there’s always the five-year chart to cheer everyone up:

The economy

Weekly jobless claims will kick off a busy data day, then the Markit services purchasing managers and ISM non-manufacturing indexes and factory orders are due. We’ll also hear from Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles, Vice Chair Richard Clarida, and Cleveland Federal Reserve President Loretta Mester.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans told Bloomberg earlier that he’s worried about the U.S. inflation outlook, but is keeping an open mind on whether more interest rate cuts are needed.

Read: Latest global economic data does nothing for investors “animal spirits”

The buzz

Tesla TSLA, -0.64%  shares are dropping after the electric-car maker reported fewer auto deliveries in the third quarter than expected. And shares of GoPro GPRO, -2.84%  are also tumbling after the action-camera maker cut its outlook.

Opinion: This could be the next gold mine for Tesla and other electric vehicles

E-Trade Financial ETFC, -3.59%  is joining Charles Schwab SCHW, -3.31%  and TD AMTD, -3.26%  in eliminating commissions on U.S. trades. Shares of the online brokers have been sliding this week since Schwab kicked off those fee-cuts Tuesday.

The quote
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Vaping products in Queens, New York

“It looks like a toxic-fume exposure, like those that occurred in World War I with mustard gas or in an industrial setting with exposure to fumes from a chemical spill.” — That was surgical pathologist Brandon Larsen at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., who led a research team into the possible cause of illness and deaths linked to vaping.

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