Add another jaw-dropping call to those circling Wall Street as fuel for the bears dominating the current bear market in risk assets (the other one being U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin looking for a 20% unemployment rate sans a coronavirus fiscal relief plan).
Deutsche Bank’s global economics team is out with a note Wednesday calling for U.S. GDP to crash 13% on an annualized basis in the second quarter. To put that into perspective, Deutsche Bank notes the rate of decline would be more than one and a half times the sharpest contraction during the 2008-2009 financial crisis (an 8.4% annualized plunge in the fourth quarter of 2008). Looked at another way, a 13% drop in U.S. GDP — spurred by the coronavirus outbreak causing businesses to grind to a halt as people quarantine and travel is restricted —would mark the sharpest contraction in the post-World War period.
“The U.S. economy is currently undergoing a truly unprecedented shock that is likely to continue for some time with the spread of the virus set to accelerate further in the coming weeks,” the Deutsche Bank team writes.
On a positive note — because society could use one right now — Deutsche Bank envisions second half GDP growth accelerating to nearly 5%. For the full year, GDP growth is seen contracting by 1%.
To be sure, investors will have a tall order on their hands in coming weeks.
New macroeconomic data from around the globe could be shocking and mirror the tone of Deutsche Bank’s GDP call. But that must be stacked up alongside an S&P 500 that is well in bear market and stock multiples on many high quality companies not being this cheap in more than a decade. And keep in mind, the global economy will likely return to growth later this year as fiscal and monetary policies run their course along with the coronavirus.
So the million dollar question is whether to buy stocks into the spate of dreadful economic news or wait for the definitive all clear sigh. Judging by the S&P 500 futures hitting limit down yet again today, investors are nowhere near ready to back up the truck on stocks.