While trade policy and troubles in the manufacturing economy have raised red flags, it’s not at all clear that the U.S. is heading into a recession, according to Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab.

Sonders told advisors at the 2019 Schwab IMPACT conference in San Diego on Monday that a more uncertain, volatile year ahead could present opportunities to buy stocks.

The market had a remarkable 2017, said Sonders, and it was no surprise that 2018 and parts of 2019 experienced volatility as a series of “microbubbles” popped.

“What we ended up getting last year was a series of rolling bear markets,” she said. “We saw it across asset classes. This has been a better year, but not without uncertainty.”

While year-to-date performance looks good on paper, Sonders notes that it has been boosted by the fact that U.S. stock prices had declined to near-bear market territory in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Sonders said that uncertainty was likely to persist as a host of macroeconomic questions were answered, while others were left unresolved, including the bifurcation of the service and manufacturing economies, slowing global growth and trade policy,

“Every cycle has a beginning and an end,” she said, noting that when the Federal Open Market Committee raises interest rates, it typically does so into a recession.

But some of the indicators of impending recession have eased in recent months, said Sonders. Credit spreads widened, then eased. Hints of potential weakness in the labor market have dissipated.

In fact, most of the recession argument comes not from “hard data,” quantitative indicators, but more of the “soft data,” confidence and survey-based indicators. Consumer, business and investor confidence is being impacted by trade, said Sonders.

While the “hard data” is improving, confidence is not – and “we may be seeing a dent in confidence become somewhat self-fulfilling,” said Sonders.

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