Listening to “Armageddonist” Predictions Can Prove Costly

A recent MarketWatch article shares the findings of one industry executive who had reportedly had enough of end-of-days-like market predictions and did some calculations of his own.

Michael Cembalest, chairman of market and investment strategy for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, “rounded up apocalyptic predictions from a range of commentators, including famed investor George Soros, bond-market giant Jeffrey Gundlach, activist Carl Icahn and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman,” the article explains.

Cembalest calculated the consequences of moving $1 from the S&P 500 to the Barclays Aggregate Bond Index from the time of those predictions and found that the losses reached as high as 60% (outlined in the chart below):

The article emphasizes that, although a recession will come eventually, Cembalest’s point is that “the recession would have to be incredibly severe for investors to be rewarded by heeding dire advice”—to the tune of a 35%-45% decline from peak levels.

According to Cembalist, the next recession probably won’t be too severe given “higher capital levels at both U.S. and European  banks, the stronger balance sheets of U.S. households, increased levels of foreign exchange reserves in EM markets as well as reduced reliance on foreign capital, and the low level of new U.S. equity supply.”