Adding to the positive equities vs bonds trade is the OECD leading indicators released today revising some prior months data. The indicators are now suggesting that the growth momentum in the global economy bottomed in August last year and has been rebound ever since. This observation fits with this machine learning recession probability model that we are tracking. However, despite the recession probability has declined it still remains at 32% for the US economy within the next 12 months. But it looks increasingly like governments and central banks avoided a recession again. The cost short term looks small but the fallout will be a more leveraged system which imply a harder reset when the economy one day runs out of steam.
Equity valuations on the MSCI World Index rose to one standard deviation in December eclipsing the high from January 2018 and are now on par with the levels in 2007. US equity valuations are now at 1.2 standard deviations and now moving in on the levels observed during the dot-com bubble. What we are likely observing is the effect of investor expectations anchoring at very low interest rate levels in the long term. In this scenario, even a low growth economy, stable cash flows from stable companies will be bid up massively in price mimicking a bond with a credit and recession risk spread implied in the free cash flow yield.