What happened to the world coming to an end?

Rate hikes getting priced back into markets: Pro

Just a couple of weeks ago on Wall Street, it looked like the world was ending, the market was crashing and all was lost. Now, it looks like the world is safe again.

What happened?

Not really a whole lot if you look at the data. Jobs are still being created, but manufacturing and corporate earnings both remain in contraction. Though auto sales have been powerful, retail sales remain modest and wages actually fell in February. Housing data have gotten arguably weaker and first-quarter GDP growth may not exceed 2 percent after just 1 percent growth in the fourth quarter.

The primary thing that seems to have changed is that while no one thinks growth is ready to accelerate sharply, the employment gains and rebound in oil are suggesting that a recession is unlikely. In turn, there's a growing feeling that the worst of the global growth scare that emerged in mid-2015 has passed.

"There's a feedback loop of noise and bias to the downside within the professional investing/trading/media world. Every single time we have a downturn, people go to the narrative of the the worst-case scenario," said Zachary Karabell, head of global strategy at Envestnet. "It's a familiar pattern."

Clearly, that loop has been broken, at least for the moment. Just as quickly as Wall Street economists had been warning that recession risks were rising, they began dousing those same expectations. While economic indicator readings are mostly tepid, at least on a directional basis more are pointing higher than at any period in at least a year, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

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