Wood Warns of Correction, Says “Key Variable in the West is Government Policy”

Christopher Wood, the well-noted market strategist at CLSA and writer of the classic Japan crash warning book “The Bubble Economyt.gif,” is now warning of a market correction in the West.  According to CNBC India, Wood believes that the markets’ extreme upward move is increasing the chances of a major correction.

Wood is still cautious. He says there is some initial indication of a technical breakdown in the US. “The US market will be vulnerable early next year the US market. If it becomes clear, after this inventory cycle, that consumption, employment is not really recovering, then the market will go down. You will then get renewed stimulus in the US and measures trying to generate growth. The key variable in the West is government policy.” CLSA’s best case scenario is 1,200 on the S&P 500 by year-end, he added.

I agree with Wood that underlying economic demand may indeed be weak and all we may be seeing is an inventory and stimulus induced cyclical upturn (see my July post “ISM: Is this the mother of all inventory corrections?”). Of course, the worry is about the employment cycle not turning up before these measures’ positive effect wears off.  This is the question for 2010. If this happens, we get  a double dip and a huge market-sell off. Even if the employment situation starts to improve slowly while stimulus and the inventory cycle recede, this will lead to a muddle-through scenario, again inducing a correction. This is the heart of Van Hoisington and Lacy Hunt’s call about partial recoveries and stock market weakness.

For those of you who want to believe and want to load up on junk, there’s a clap for that too, via bear turned bull Richard Bernstein:

Richard Bernstein of Richard Bernstein Capital Management is a lot more bullish. “Right now, there is a blurring between the secular issues and the cyclical ones. There are people, including me, who are concerned about the secular issues, but we can’t ignore the fact that the economy is getting better, employment is improving. When that happens you will see a cyclical rebound.”

Just in September, Bernstein was saying America “practically invites another catastrophe.” What happened to that guy? He better be right on his bullish turn or he is going to have a lot of egg all over his face.


Chances of a deeper correction are rising: Chris Woodt.gif – CNBC TV18 India

Originally published at Credit Writedowns and reproduced here with the author’s permission.  

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