The investing and economic team at Bank of America Merrill Lynch put out a terrific 115-page note to clients at the end of last week which dissected the status of the U.S. economy and how to invest around it.
It's titled: "U.S. Economy bull/bear: Most signs point to late cycle."
"Late cycle" is a term that's starting to pop up frequently in reports by Wall Street economists, strategists and analysts, so get ready to hear it more and more. Generally, the economy is thought to have four phases or cycles, according to most on Wall Street, including BofAML:
- Early cycle
- Late cycle
Most on Wall Street are now saying we are in this "late cycle," the last phase of the economy before a recession, marked by decelerating economic growth and peaks in profit margins, sales and stock multiples.
It's about time we've entered this phase since, as BofAML points out, in July this will become the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, running 9-plus years.
BofAML said its company analysts found that 15 of the 25 different major sectors the firm follows indicate an economy that is in late cycle, which is consistent with its economists' and strategists' view. So the bottoms-up folks agree with the top-down folks that this is the phase we are in.
"Putting the pieces of the puzzle together, we see an economy that is set to slow into the end of next year as fiscal stimulus fades and the Fed brings interest rates higher," wrote Michelle Meyer, U.S. economist for the firm, in the note. "We will need to recalibrate from a 3 percent economy back to a low-2 percent economy, as has been typical throughout this expansion."
So what do you do with your money during this "late cycle"?