Clearly, not everything is sunny-side up, despite strong employment numbers. Saddled with $1.5 trillion in student debt, millennials aren’t buying houses in the way previous generations have.

Announced layoffs had averaged about 35,000 a month for most of the year, but in September through November they averaged 61,000. In a December webcast, DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach observed that without a buildup in inventories, the 3.5% rise in 2018’s third quarter GDP would have been a meager 1.2%, indicating the U.S. was not immune to the global slowdown.

Negative news can feed on itself and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. That was evident when home builder Toll Brothers pinpointed “well-publicized reports of a housing slowdown” to explain poor financial results for its latest quarter.

But what some giant companies aren’t saying is equally significant. Apple told investors in October it would stop reporting unit sales of iPhones. It is highly improbable the company is doing that because sales are strong, says Kevin Landis, CIO of Firsthand Capital.

None of these events is cause for alarm, but some think the stock market is sending a signal that trouble is on the horizon. Like Orlando, Liz Ann Sonders, Charles Schwab’s chief equity strategist, has been eerily accurate for almost all of this decade-long bull market. In late October, she told advisors at the annual Schwab Impact conference that the odds of a bear market and a recession were rising. Trade tensions could tip the U.S. economy into recession faster than most people think, she said.

Crosscurrents in the financial markets provide good reason for advisors to reassess where things stand in the cycle after a decade of asset reflation. Take consumers out of the equation, and most of the U.S. economic data is decelerating, argues MFS’s global investment strategist Robert Almeida. Simply put, investors are receiving less compensation for risk than they got only a few years ago. He expects earnings to continue to moderate and doubts that the markets are prepared for that.

“Consensus numbers keep coming down,” Almeida continues. “At the individual company level, we expect to see more dispersion [of financial results].” In particular, there are worries that companies are driving high margins by using debt for non-core purposes like dividends and stock buybacks, which could hit investors with some downside surprises.

The Triple B Twilight Zone

Two years ago, debt levels were a conversation item in the MFS fixed-income department; today, the same conversation is occurring among the fund complex’s equity managers and analysts. “Highly leveraged companies struggled in 2007, and I’m anticipating something similar,” Almeida says. “The triple-B-rated [corporate debt market] has doubled in size from 10 years ago, and we could see some big stumbles in 2009.”

Concerns about corporate debt levels, which have doubled in the last decade, are growing. GE, GM and Ford are each carrying more than $100 billion in debt. AT&T has about $180 billion.

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