Sonders: Valuations Could Cushion Market If Cliff Strikes

In her latest Market Snapshot, Charles Schwab Chief Investment Strategist Liz Ann Sonders says that even if the U.S. goes off the “fiscal cliff” — triggering a variety of tax hikes and budget cuts — other factors will likely help keep a potential recession “fairly mild”. Among those factors are the rebound in the housing market, better financial conditions than were present going into the last recession, loose monetary policy around the globe, and the fact that there isn’t as much excess in the system as there was before the last recession. Sonders also discusses the difference in the way consumers and businesses are approaching the cliff, with consumers seeming not to be as worried while businesses are growing cautious. She says corporate cash levels are extremely high, as businesses wait for clarity on the regulatory and tax fronts before they put their cash to use. Unlike the government, consumers, she says, have cut down significantly on their debt in recent years, and are able to finance debt at very low rates, leading to recent improvements in confidence. Sonders says valuations look good for stocks right now, and says she sees signs that the “risk-on, risk-of” trade pattern that has dominated the market in recent years may be giving way.

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