V-Shaped Recovery Very Unlikely

Markets were in the dumps yesterday with more broken bones than a wrestling match at the retirement village.

On Wall Street, the thirty blue chip names comprising the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.35%, or 200 points. The broader S&P 500 bled more, ending the day down just over 3%. The tech-centric Nasdaq was worse off still, losing 3.35%.

And today, the bloodletting spilled over into Asian measures. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng (-2.9%), Japan’s Nikkei 225 (-2.8%), Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 ( -3.1%) and South Korea’s Kospi Composite ( -2.8%) were among the worst hit.

“Asian investors are connecting the dots – with the World Bank’s help – that the U.S. economy is nowhere near turning around,” Tony Sagami, editor of Asia Stock Alert, told the Wall Street Journal’s Asian Edition. “Any Asian companies that depend on Americans for a big chunk of their sales need to prepare for lots of red ink.”

But it’s not just Asian markets.

Russia “officially” entered a bear market after yesterday’s 0.6% selloff pushed the Micex index down 20% from its last peak. Indeed, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index ended the session down 10% from its 2009 high. What do you call that? Half a bear market?

“After the World Bank report yesterday we see more concern about the return of negative growth dynamics,” Commerzbank AG’s Michael Ganske, told Bloomberg. “Investors realize that all the discussions of a sharp, V-shaped recovery are not going to materialize.”

NOW they realize, eh? We wonder how long it will be before they’ll forget that the word depression doesn’t end with a “V”. It ends with a lower case “n” or, as Bill Bonner is fond of saying, “a corrective force equal and opposite to the deception and delusion that preceded it.”

And there’s still plenty more deception and delusion to come, folks. For starters, the FOMC meets tomorrow, no doubt armed with a sack full of optical illusions and prestidigitations for the investing public. History shows, however, that we humans prefer a blissful illusion to a decaying reality…even if the shoots are turning brown before our noses.