3 Bearish Signs in a Sea of Negativity

Last week I published the 3 bullish signs in a sea of negativity (click here).  So I figured I’d even the score and mark down some of the more bearish economic signs I’ve been seeing lately.

Yes, there’s a lot to be negative about, but one could easily argue that the negativity is justified.  The following indicators are all important barometers of economic growth.  This will be sure to brighten your day before you head into the weekend!

Rail Traffic is grinding to a halt.  As I noted earlier, rail traffic is slowing substantially.  This week’s data showed negative growth in intermodal traffic and the 12 week moving average has slowed to just 1.65%.  This has tended to be a leading indicator of recession so the downtrend in this data is certainly a red flag.

(Chart via Orcam Investment Research)

Manufacturers’ New Orders have turned sharply negative.  This has been discussed quite a bit in the analyst community and while it’s not necessarily an immediate sign of recession, like rail traffic, it is one of the glaring warning signs of just how weak this economy is.

(Chart via Dshort)

Suez Canal Traffic is turning negative.  The Suez is one of the most trafficked waterways in the world and an indicator of global economic growth.  The chart below (via Reuters) shows that total tonnage and global export traffic have turned negative.


Got a comment or question about this post? Feel free to use the Ask Cullen section, leave a comment in the forum or send me a message on Twitter.

Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services.

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  • LVG

    Do we need more to worry about?

  • Bond Vigilante

    Manufacturing is a VERY important indicator.

  • GreenAB

    U.S. Small-Business Owners’ Hiring Intentions Plunge
    Net hiring over the past 12 months declined to -12, down from -7 in July


  • http://www.dowtheoryinvestment.com Manuel Blay

    Technically, the Dow Theory flashed a primary bear market signal on Nov 16. Such primary bear markets have lasted an average of ca. six months. So the odds favor declining prices in the months ahead.

    Furthermore, the Dow Theory has the uncanny ability to signal recessions ahead of time. The bear market signal of Nov 16 suggests that economic activity is likely to slow down in the next few months.

    More about such a signal here:



  • KB

    Thanks for Suez chart. I always read your rail report, and Suez is a nice addition. Have you tried to combine all transportation statistics?

  • Alberto

    Dark inventories have been liquidated for weeks, oil is low and going lower, gold is weak and getting weaker. When in tandem these are excellent recession indicators.

  • http://www.nowandfutures.com bart

    Huge drop in U. Mich. Consumer Confidence, to 74.5 from 82.7.

    When the econ & finance basics aren’t fixed, things don’t get better. -ng-

  • Helix12

    New orders for durable goods excluding aircraft terrible too

  • kman

    If It walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then it must be a bull market “in ducks”. No need to overthink it.

  • Boston Larry

    As usual, the overall economic trend is murky because auto sales and sales of new and existing homes are all relatively strong. And if a compromise is reached on fiscal cliff, equities would likely tilt higher.

  • hangemhi

    With housing recovering, and consumer credit up, these downtrends may be short lived. And if the gov doesn’t actually cut the deficit and we get another $1T deficit in 2013, we’re going to be off to the races. For now the jury is out.

  • Rick Rock

    Who needs manufacturing, railroads. or shipping? We have a new green economy, where everyone plays computer solitaire all day.

  • Bond Vigilante

    Suez canal traffic is mainly about shipping traffic between Europe and Asia.

  • http://www.tfasigns.com/ Business Signs Chicago

    Nice blog .. very nice to know about it … Thank you so much for posting this great article,
    I am very interested in what I read, good and useful content.
    Thanks for share me that nice post.

  • Geoff

    And old fogies on cruises.

  • Bond Vigilante