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Wall Street Banks Foresee A Downturn

Big banks are forecasting a slowdown in global markets as mounting evidence suggests the business cycle is nearing its end.

Wall Street analysts from banks including HSBC Holdings Plc, Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley wrote in separate reports that investors remain bullish in their bets despite asset valuations and fundamentals signaling cooling in the market. That could signal a coming downturn.

Charging Bull statue in Manhattan's Financial District

Bloomberg reports market activity is similar to prior to the financial crisis, when investors would brush off macro trends to continue their pursuit of assets within industries they deemed strong. 

Investors are not paying attention to earnings reports as needed, Bank of America Merrill Lynch head of U.S. Equity and Quantitative Strategy Savita Subramanian told Bloomberg. Her research shows companies within 11 sectors that beat analyst estimates in the last quarter did not receive a boost in investment activity. 

“This lack of reaction could be another late-cycle signal, suggesting expectations and positioning already more than reflect good results [and good] guidance,” Subramanian wrote.

These predictions mirror talks within the real estate industry about a potential downturn.

Real estate professionals overwhelmingly predict the market still has room to grow. But softening in core markets across most property types, particularly office and multifamily, has caused some concern among investors. 

Deal volume is down across the board and commercial real estate pricing — though still nearly 10% higher than it was in 2016 as of June — has declined modestly since President Donald Trump’s election as the lengthy cycle and political turmoil have caused investors to pause

The average commercial real estate cycle has been known to last between six and seven years before rapid expansion, peaking valuations and overbuilding forces the industry into a nationwide recession. But this cycle has defied those odds. The industry has been experiencing a record run of rising valuations for roughly eight years, and CBRE CEO Robert Sulentic predicts this growth could continue well into 2018. A lack of easy-flowing capital, due to banks tightening their lending standards, has forced developers to become smarter and more conservative in their deals, making a real estate crash less likely, he said.