Business Cycle Rotation Part 3


Last year I produced several posts that described an exercise that utilizes long term momentum changes between asset classes and the relationship among asset classes to anticipate the business cycle. That series and parts 1 and 2 of this series are linked below.

Parts one and two of the series described the general methodology, presented the matrix with the raw data and showed the process used to consolidate the raw data and begin to draw conclusions around the economy’s position in the current business cycle.

Before I plot the distilled sectors onto a stylized business/market cycle overlay, I plot equities, rates and commodities onto an overlay with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Composite Leading Indicator (CLI) for the United States. CLI readings above 100 (dashed red line) suggest economic expansion to come while below the 100 line suggests weakness, and perhaps recession to come. The index is currently below 100 but rising toward the 100 line. So still weakening but at a much slower pace.

To help visualize the cycle I plot 10 year rates (inverted), SPX and the Thompson Core CRB index along with the CLI. Viewed in the manner the cycle that began with the bond top appears to be consistent in terms of sequencing. Rates topped, economy (CLI) topped, followed by equities and finally commodities top as the CLI enters the economic contraction phase.

Fast forward to todays configuration. In this perspective, despite the sharp rally in early November, while there is room for a cyclic rally, there is no sign of a lasting bond bottom (see next chart).

Commodities, while off their lows don’t appear to be suggesting a new leg up in the cycle (but may be moving that way).

I think of rates as the first mover in the cycle. To believe that the cycle has turned virtuous I like to see ten year rates make a solid top. The ten year note monthly chart has broken above the multi decade downtrend and above the 3.25% pivot. While a bit overbought in terms of momentum and a small RSI divergence is showing up, the structure from the 2020 low is completely intact. Until I see solid signs of a monthly perspective yield top in the two year and ten year, it will be difficult for me to label this as the kind of high that would lead a change in the economic cycle.

The distilled sectors are placed onto stylized market and economic cycle sine curves. If markets (dark blue curve) are correctly anticipating the business cycle (grey curve) the business cycle is somewhere past peak, and should be expected to steadily deteriorate over coming quarters.

In part 5 we will examine the totality of the evidence and draw conclusions around the current cycle and what it implies for 2024.

And finally, many of the topics and techniques discussed in this post are part of the CMT Associations Chartered Market Technician’s curriculum.

Good Trading:
Stewart Taylor, CMT
Chartered Market Technician
Taylor Financial Communications

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