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None of this is consistent with a sudden shift toward recession, and thus should support the notion that we are in an interruption to a bull market. But there are more disquieting trends afoot, particularly in the guidance that executives are giving on earnings calls. They are being noticeably downbeat. Chris Watling of Longview Economics in London points out that several of the companies that reported earnings last week chose to highlight “a change in the macro environment in the fourth quarter (i.e. post the cutoff of their earnings report).” Meta was probably the highest-profile example, as it warned about weakness in ad spending (which Watling describes as a classic cyclical indicator that, again, implies companies are cutting back on spending they would otherwise like to make). The huge UK-based advertising group WPP made similar comments.
Photographer: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg