Is this the top?
A report in The Wall Street Journal on Thursday has nothing to do with markets, but if you were ever looking for an anecdotal sign that we’ve hit some kind of market top, the lack of activity among Americans is it.
According to the Journal, which cites a a survey by the Physical Activity Council, Americans haven’t been this sedentary since 2007.
For folks in financial markets, 2007 is not the kind of year you want to be compared to.
2007 is the year the markets topped out before the financial crisis, which plunged the US economy into its deepest recession since the Great Depression. And so the question following this survey is: are Americans getting too comfortable and no longer pushing to get better?
Said another way, is America resting on its laurels?
In its release on Wednesday, the PAC said: “According to the 2015 Participation Report released today by the Physical Activity Council (PAC), 82.7 million Americans age 6 and up, or 28.3%, were physically inactive in 2014. This is an increase of 0.7% from 2013 where 80.2 million, or 27.6%, of the population were inactive.”
Outside of the potential read-through on whether the current bull market is about to run out or not, this is just discouraging news for the country as a whole, with the current obesity rate in the US closing in on 35%, according to the CDC. Part of what Apple has marketed as the benefits of its new Apple Watch is that it will get folks moving again, with Apple CEO Tim Cook having called sitting “the new cancer” (though we think he meant “the new smoking.” Still bad!).
As markets have pushed to new all-time highs, we’ve periodically highlighted things that may, or may not, signal some kind of “top,” and we’ve also been on the lookout for strategists calling the top.
Of course, no one knows when we hit the top because it’s only clear after the fact.
But those of you who look to things other than stock market for clues about where we might be headed next, here’s something you might be able to seize on.