David Rosenberg's favorite leading indicator, the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) Leading Index, fell to 123.2 in the week ended June 4, down from 124 the week before, a -3.5% annualized contraction: the first time this has gone negative in over a year. This is the lowest level since July 31, 2009, when it was at 122.4, as the chart below demonstrates.
What is more troubling is a historical comparison to the dark days of the 1970's recession. While the amplitude of the recent pick up has been unprecedented, from -30 to +30, it is only mirrored by the -20 to +20 jump seen in 1971-1973. However, as can also be seen below, the ensuing crash following the first spike, was the worst one in the past 35 years. If history is any predictor, does the ECRI Leading Indicator index anticipate a comparable collapse in the economy to what was seen in late 2008?