A recent Bloomberg article describes the start of April as “ugly” for the stock market, citing comments by Jim Paulsen of Leuthold Weeden Capital Management that other asset classes have also showed signs of tension so far this year.
Paulsen created the “Markets Message Indicator” to track such tensions, and the article reports that the indicator is now “rolling over after peaking in January at one of its highest levels in the past 40 years, a sign cracks may be starting to show across financial markets.”
The article also notes that “stocks relative to bonds, and cyclicals relative to defensive stocks both recently declined even lower than during the depths of the February correction—a sign of waning investor aggressiveness, according to Paulsen.”
The article cites other “signs of worry,” including the spread on investment grade bonds and trends in commodity trading, concluding with Paulsen’s comment: “At a minimum, equity investors should not limit their attention simply to the struggles and messages coming from the stock market. Rather, chatter from all financial markets should be considered and currently they are jointly whispering to ‘proceed with caution!'”