At Financial Sense we follow a wide handful of US leading economic indicators (LEIs) and compile them into an index showing the percentage that are expanding or contracting to get a read on future economic growth.
As of February 2016, only 33% of the LEIs in our composite index are expanding with the majority (66%) showing contraction. The last time it dipped this far into negative territory was in the first quarter of 2008 at the beginning of the last recession.
Many of the LEIs are subject to revisions and may change in subsequent months; however, the current reading certainly suggests that the US economy is on a weak footing and close to a tipping point (note: ISM manufacturing PMI shown in red as a comparative benchmark).
The JPMorgan Global Services and Manufacturing PMIs are also resting right at the key threshold of 50 separating contraction from expansion. If both of these measures don't pick up in the months ahead (and deteriorate further), expect market weakness to continue.