Josh Brown: ‘If people don’t get fired, then it’s not a recession’

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,“If people still have their jobs and they have no problem getting their next jobs, you can’t have a recession. So I don’t care what the NBER says. … If not removed, it is not a recession.”,

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He was on stage, Josh Brown, chief executive officer of Ritholtz Wealth Management. MarketWatch’s Best New Ideas at the Money Festival on Thursday.

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Brown, the CNBC personality whose New York City-based investment advisory firm manages more than $2 billion, joined his “Compound & Friends” investment podcast cohost Michael Batnick to speak with Marketwatch news editor Joy Wiltermuth at the festival. The trio talked about whether a recession is still pending, about red flags in the US economy — and also why this is an opportunity for investors to buy the market, even if it doesn’t feel like one.

“There seems to be a slow downturn that everyone knows is coming, but it has so far failed to show in the data,” Batnik said.

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“The consumer is in a good position,” said Batnick, who is managing partner at Ritholtz Wealth Management and runs the blog “The Irrelevant Investor.” He drew several charts to show that most Americans are still paying their bills on time, and for many, their personal balance sheets are now better than they were before the pandemic. Both men also noted that employment numbers have been strong. “The data is saying that the consumer is in good shape,” Batnick reiterated.

Brown joked that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s decision on Wednesday to be aggressive against inflation by raising the benchmark federal-funds rate to 0.75 percent reminded him of a student trying to get extra credit after a full year of delays. was doing.

Marketwatch editor Joy Wiltermuth (left) with Michael Batnick (center) and Josh Brown of Ritholtz Wealth Management.

market inspection

“Jerome Powell is like that guy who memorizes all his homework assignments all year long, and then as a treat for the teacher, on the last day of school he comes over and he’s written a rock opera, and he’s going to do it. gonna,” she said, a big laugh from the crowd.

But on a more serious note, both men agreed that the housing market is “shining bright red” right now. “If you’re worried about housing, you’re worried about the right thing,” Brown said.

That’s because housing touches many different parts of the US economy outside of real estate, including lending and financial institutions, construction and renovation, as well as legal acts, he said. “It’s said that anywhere between 15% and 18% of the US economy has something to do with housing,” he said.

,“If you’re worried about housing, you’re worried about the right thing.” ,

Brown said the housing-market craziness peaked with a “Saturday Night Live” Zillow sketch that compared swiping through real-estate listings to watching porn. “It was a great skit,” Brown said. “I think they really put their finger on what the zeitgeist was [during the 2020 COVID shutdowns]When you had nothing more to do than how much better your neighbor’s house was, and imagine it, because we were trapped inside these four walls. ,

On the other hand, Brown and Batnick suggested that the downturn for commercial real estate could be intensifying, as anxious workers – particularly in the financial industry – may feel too insecure to “shut up” or demand that They continue to be able to work from anywhere. A recession can throw anxious workers back into the office and return some of the benefits to employers.

“Last year was an environment in which you could put the middle finger on your boss if you were into finance. A lot of people were like, ‘Hey, you know what, actually, I’m going to be in the Hamptons this summer. That’s where I do my job from now on,” Brown said.

“In a recession, it’s singing for your dinner again,” he continued. “And you want to face-time with your boss, and you want to be in the peripheral vision of executives. So paradoxically, the best thing that can happen for a company to have their own balance sheet right, is a recession. — especially in finance, because then all of a sudden, you’ll see buildings get filled with employees again very quickly.”

And Brown noted that while many investors and consumers are feeling “unhappy” and headlines right now, it’s actually a prime time to invest in the market, while many stocks are priced lower than they were in years. He called it the paradox of investing.

,“Just appreciate the moment you are in. It doesn’t sound great, but the opportunities are presenting themselves now.” ,

“It’s always going to feel best at the worst of times, and it’s always going to feel like the worst at the best of times,” he said. “Just appreciate the moment you are in. It doesn’t sound great, but the opportunities are presenting themselves now.”

The “The Reformed Broker” session featuring Brown and Batnick was one of several shows at MarketWatch’s first Best New Ideas in Money festival this week. MarketWatch’s top editors are hosting Q&A with investment giants and entrepreneurs like Carl Icahn and Ray Dalio to hear their financial advice. And there are sessions covering hot areas like crypto and cannabis, workshops on how to manage your money like a pro and more.

Find out about investing and managing your finances. Speakers include investors Josh Brown and Vivek Ramaswamy; Plus topics such as ESG investing, EVs, space and fintech. The Best New Ideas in the Money festival continues Thursday. Register to participate in person or virtually.

you can also subscribe MW’s youtube channel To catch the full session video.


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