Stocks & Commodities V. 31:1 (40-42, 64): Intermarket Checkup by Matt Blackman

Stocks & Commodities V. 31:1 (40-42, 64): Intermarket Checkup by Matt Blackman
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Intermarket Checkup by Matt Blackman

Where the heck are we, anyway? Knowing where we are now and what economic forces are in play in the broader scheme of things can be useful in anticipating where weíre headed.

In his latest book, Investing In The Second Lost Decade, Martin Pring et al. provide a credible explanation about the business cycle and how it can be used to enhance investment and trading decisions. Pring breaks the idealized cycle down into six stages and provides an overview of how the three major asset classes (bonds, stocks, and commodities) should be performing at each stage of the cycle.

According to Pring, bonds should lead stocks and stocks should lead commodities on the way up and down in a textbook cycle. Figure 1 is a stylized diagram of the Pring-Turner business cycle, described thus:

To everything a season

Stage 1: The economy is still contracting, but stocks are approaching their lows and commodities arenít far behind. Once bonds demonstrate they have bottomed, itís a good time to start buying them since they lead the other two asset classes in a recovery.

Stage 2: At this point, the economy has bottomed. Stocks have begun to move up behind bonds.

Stage 3: As the economy improves, inflation begins to creep in, which is good for commodities that have bottomed and stocks, at least in the early inflationary stages. This is a good time to buy commodities. Bonds, stocks, and commodities move up together during stage 3 as the economy continues to expand.

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