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Opinion
John Authers

Making Sense of This Economy Is a Rorschach Test

How you see the ink blot of data may say more about you than the numbers. But markets are taking a position that’s ready for implosion. 

A mobile testing site in Times Square as the omicron variant threatens a higher Covid case count.

A mobile testing site in Times Square as the omicron variant threatens a higher Covid case count.

Photographer: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg

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Sometimes it’s best to admit that you're at a loss. Last week provided such a range of economic data that you could use it as a Rorschach test. Just like the psychiatric examination of what you see in an ink blot, what was discerned in the data probably said more about you than the numbers. Meanwhile, markets continued to take a strong, possibly even extreme position. Indexes of risk assets are close to all-time highs. Much of the data is emphatically good. And yet investors are positioning for an implosion. Why?