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Evidence for a recession ‘overwhelming’: Money manager

People wait in line to enter job fair in New York City earlier this year. A report suggests U.S. companies have made huge gains in productivity during the recession - which doesn't bode well for job seekers.

SHANNON STAPLETON/Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Here's a gloomy thought about the stock market on a down day from those in the glass-is-half-empty department.

Comstock Partners, a bearishly oriented U.S. money manager, says in its latest market letter that the evidence a recession is on the way "is overwhelming."

The firm says it first noticed signs of softening in the U.S. a few months ago, but the trend to weaker economic statistics south of the border seems to be accelerating. Among them, declining June retail sales, lacklustre payroll numbers, the sub-50 reading in the June ISM manufacturing index and the recent drop in the Conference Board index of leading indicators.

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"The breadth and depth of the slowdown are greater than the growth pauses experienced in mid-2010 and mid-2011, and indicate a strong likelihood of recession ahead," Comstock says.

Globally, things aren't much better, in its opinion, with a number of European countries already in recession and China looking like it may have a hard landing due to a real estate and credit bust.

"The stock market is ignoring these fundamentals as it did in early 2000 and late 2007 in the belief that the Fed can pull another rabbit out of its hat. It couldn't do it in 2000 or 2007 when it had plenty of weapons at its disposal....In sum, we believe that the stock market is in store for a huge disappointment," the firm says.

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About the Author
Investment Reporter

Martin Mittelstaedt has had a varied reporting career at the Globe and Mail, covering politics, the environment and business. He opened up the Globe's New York bureau for the Report on Business, and has also been on the banking and capital markets beats. He's written extensively on investing themes. More

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