The idea that we are late in the economic and financial-market cycle is one that even most Wall Street bulls won’t dispute.
After all, when the economic expansion surpasses a decade to become the longest ever and the S&P 500 has delivered a compounded return of nearly 18% a year since March 2009, how can the cycle not be considered pretty mature?
Yet it’s not quite that simple. Huge parts of the economy have run out of sync, at separate speeds. Some indicators have a decidedly “good as it gets” look, others retain a mid-cycle profile — and a few even resemble early parts of a recovery than the end. Friday’s unexpectedly strong November job gain above 200,000 reflects this debate, suggesting we are not at “full employment” even this deep into an expansion.
And the market itself has stalled and retrenched several times along the way, keeping risk appetites tethered and purging or preventing excesses.
In the “late-cycle” category we find several broad, trending data readings: Unemploym