By Joseph Adinolfi
Ark Invest CEO Cathie Wood admitted during a Tuesday interview with CNBC that she had dramatically underestimated the severity of inflation — before claiming that the U.S. economy is likely already in a recession.
Wood blamed supply-chain disruptions and geopolitical factors like the war in Ukraine for exacerbating inflationary pressures beyond what she had anticipated. She also said that a recession driven in part by mismanaged inventories had already begun.
“We think we are in a recession,” Wood said during a Tuesday interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin on CNBC.
The first reading on U.S. economic growth during the second quarter of 2022 will be released roughly one month from now by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. While the Federal Reserve and most of the big U.S. investment banks don’t anticipate a recession this year, the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow forecast shows U.S. economic growth collapsing to zero during the second quarter, following a negative reading for the first quarter, as MarketWatch reported.
“We were wrong on one thing and that was inflation being as sustained as it has been…inflation has been a bigger problem but I think it has set us up for deflation,” Wood said.
Wood explained that supply-chain issues had led to major retailers to mismanage their inventories, leading to a glut of certain finished goods, like furniture, that were in high demand during the pandemic. Even “the best-managed companies in the world” are having problems she said. She added that the surge in inventories seen over the past year has been larger than anything she has seen during her 45-year career.
“We’re talking about Walmart and Target…they have problems, and we think there will be a lot more problems,” she said.
Wood also pointed to the drop in consumer sentiment as measured by the University of Michigan’s survey as another warning that a recession has already begun.
“Consumer sentiment in the highest income groups is lower than in the lowest income groups,” Wood said.
As MarketWatch reported last week, the closely watched gauge of consumer sentiment tumbled to 50 in its final reading for June, down from an initial reading of 50.2 earlier in the month, and well below May’s level of 58.4. The final number is the lowest reading on record, going back to the late 1970s.
The ARK Innovation ETF /zigman2/quotes/204808965/composite ARKK +0.35% has fallen more than 50% since the start of the year, but it has recorded more than $370 million of money flowing into the ETF over the past week (although nearly $1 billion has flowed out of the fund over the past year). The Innovation ETF traded flat in early trading on Tuesday at $44.86 per share.