A $22 trillion stock rally now hinges on rapid economic recovery

The 40% plus rally in the MSCI All Country World Index from its March low suggests it’s not just policy measures that have rescued investors, but expectations of a real-economy rebound. UBS Group AG analysts say that high-frequency indicators of mobility — such as foot traffic at retailers and metros — support the equity surge.

The danger, though, for investors and policy makers alike is that any complication in the economic recovery could see market gains swiftly reverse — at a time when there’s less room for additional policy support, given the scope of what’s already been deployed. And while markets will likely look through horrific second-quarter data, tolerance for depression-like numbers into the second half may be thin.

“It is prudent to expect the script on the pandemic to have a few more dark turns,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “If stock prices slump significantly again, this would be another headwind to the global economic recovery, and put even more pressure on central banks and governments.”