“It’s not that it’s weak. It’s a complete collapse in the number, one of the lowest readings this statistic has ever had.”
– Jim Paulsen (subscription required), Chief Investment Strategist, Wells Capital Management
Recession talk is in the air again this morning as a dreadful ISM Services Report for January appears to have shattered the recent optimism. The report’s index of Business Activity/Production fell to 41.9 from 54.4 in December. The overall number was below 50, signalling a contraction in economic activity, for the first time since August 2003 (ISM Non-Manufacturing Report, January).
Stock markets are getting crushed: Dow -298, Nasdaq -54, S&P -34.