Gundlach: A Recession is Getting Closer

A recent Barron’s article featured an interview with DoubleLine Capital founder Jeffrey Gundlach, who says the U.S. is getting closer to a recession. Here are some highlights:

The economy and markets: Gundlach says that of the dozen indicators he finds helpful on a “forward-looking basis,” not a single one was negative at the beginning of this year. Today, he says, one that is somewhat negative is the yield curve, which has flattened “pretty relentlessly” for the past year or two as the Fed has been tightening. “There’s a narrative out there that says the flattening yield curve isn’t sending any message about a recession, and that couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, with rates so low, the yield curve signal is even stronger than usual.”

When the two-year and 10-year Treasury yields are the same, says Gundlach, “the recession risk is at least a year away.” Recently, he adds, the spread was as low as 28 basis points. “It is flashing yellow,” he says, “It needs to be respected.”

The best way to invest in this type of environment, says Gundlach, is to “be conservative.” He recommends low-risk, relatively low-duration bonds and favors commodities. “They are weirdly strong, given how powerful the dollar has been.”