Donald Trump is unlikely to get his wish that a U.S. stock-market crash occurs this year.
I’m referring to the former U.S. president’s comments last week that he hopes the market crashes in 2024, since if he is elected in November and takes office a year from now, he doesn’t want to be another Herbert Hoover. Hoover was President when the stock market crashed in 1929.
The stock market did plunge in two of the last four presidential-election years, so it’s understandable why one would worry that 2024 could see a repeat. In 2008, in the middle of the Global Financial Crisis, the S&P 500
lost 38.5% for the year. In 2020, as the economy ground to a halt because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the S&P 500 lost 34% in little more than a month’s time.
It’s possible that a crash could occur at any time, of course, so a crash this year can’t be ruled out. Nevertheless, the odds of one occurring this year are significantly below average. That’s according to the latest “State Street US Froth Forecasts,” which are derived from research on crashes conducted by Robin Greenwood, Professor of Banking and Finance at Harvard Business School.
In that research, Greenwood and his co-authors found that it’s possible to identify when there is an elevated probability of a crash. In an interview, Greenwood said that “crash probabilities are low” right now, not only for the market as a whole but “across the board” for individual market sectors as well.
Greenwood’s model is based on a number of factors, such as performance over the trailing two-year period, volatility, share turnover, IPO activity and the price path of the trailing two-year runup. For example, he and his fellow researchers found that when an industry beats the market by 150 or more percentage points over a two-year period, there’s an 80% probability that it will crash — which they define as a drop of at least 40% over the subsequent two years. As you can see from the accompanying chart, State Street is reporting low crash probabilities for all sectors — in each case well below the average forecasted crash probabilities of the past five years.
These probabilities don’t mean that stocks will have a great year in 2024. A new bear market could begin this year without the decline satisfying the researchers’ definition of a crash.
Nevertheless, the takeaway from the State Street US Froth Forecasts is that there are bigger things to worry about this year than the possibility of a crash.
Mark Hulbert is a regular contributor to MarketWatch. His Hulbert Ratings tracks investment newsletters that pay a flat fee to be audited. He can be reached at email@example.com