S&P 500 could collapse by 50%

  • 26/06/2024

When the stock market bubble bursts and recession sets in Wall Street veteran

Paul Dietrich pointed to a highly overvalued market and cracks in the economy

The S&P 500 could be cut in half when the stock bubble bursts and the U.S. economy plunges into recession, Paul Dietrich believes.

“I believe that the upcoming recession will lead to a deeper decline in the stock market than in 2000 and 2008,” said chief investment strategist B. Riley Wealth Management in his latest monthly commentary.


A graph of the stock market decline and recession. Stocks could collapse by almost 50%, and a recession could come as early as this year, says Paul Dietrich of B. Riley. Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images

Dietrich described in detail the warning signs indicating that stocks are highly overvalued and close to correction. For example, he pointed to the price-earnings ratio in the S&P 500 and the inflation-adjusted Shiller PE ratio, which, excluding past recessions, are at multi-decade highs, as well as the index’s historically low dividend yield of 1.35%.

He also noted that the recent market growth was driven by investor enthusiasm for several stocks, such as Microsoft and Nvidia, and their hopes that the Federal Reserve would lower interest rates later this year, rather than fundamental factors such as rising corporate earnings.

Indeed, Dietrich compared the huge hype around AI to the Internet mania during the dotcom bubble. He also drew attention to the Buffett indicator, which rose to 188% this year – close to the 200% mark, when buying shares, according to Warren Buffett, would mean “playing with fire.”

In addition, the strategist noted that over the past year, the price of gold has jumped by about 20% to record highs. He explained this by saying that institutional investors are buying this safe haven asset because they expect “a serious correction or collapse of the stock market due to wildly inflated stock prices and a slowdown in economic growth.”

As for the economy, Dietrich argues that decades of excessive budget spending and artificially low interest rates have pushed back the recession.

He predicted that rates would remain raised for many years to combat persistently inflated inflation, and the government would be forced to raise taxes to solve the problem of bloated budget deficits, which would lower prices for assets such as stocks and houses and cause an economic downturn.

“No one seems to notice that the economy is cooling, and there are risks to it everywhere,” he said. “I still think there is a high probability that the economy will go into a mild recession this year.”

Dietrich noted that the S&P 500 typically falls by about 36% during a recession, and the index will have to drop 12% from its current level of about 5,450 points to return to the 200-day moving average. Thus, he warned that the index could fall by 48% to 2,800 points – the lowest level since the collapse of Covid in the spring of 2020.

The Wall Street veteran is one of several leading forecasters predicting a worsening stock market and an impending recession. But it is worth noting that Dietrich has been sounding the alarm for several months, but neither the market nor the economy have faced serious problems.