'Big Short' investor Michael Burry predicts a consumer recession — and warns companies face more earnings pain
Americans are saving less, borrowing more, and have spent the extra money they stashed away during the pandemic. Those trends could herald a sustained decline in consumer spending, and erode corporate earnings, Michael Burry warned on Friday.
In other words, if people are becoming more indebted and their rainy-day funds are dwindling, they're likely to slash their spending, sapping economic growth and hurting companies' bottom lines.
The soaring costs of food, gas, and housing are undoubtedly a factor; inflation is squeezing consumers and leaving them with less disposable income.
Burry is best known for his billion-dollar bet against the mid-2000s housing bubble, which was immortalized in the book and film "The Big Short."
He also helped pave the way for GameStop shares to skyrocket in January 2021 by investing in the video-game retailer, and made high-profile bets against Elon Musk's Tesla and Cathie Wood's flagship Ark Innovation fund last year.
The Scion Asset Management boss has previously raised concerns about American consumers. He tweeted in Aprilthat US households increased their wealth during the pandemic thanks to stimulus checks, forgivable loans, cash-out refinancing offers, and indirect economic aid.
That might sound positive, but Burry questioned how people could ever rebuild that wealth. He was probably referring to inflation fears preventing further stimulus, and higher prices, rising interest rates, asset-price declines, and limited wage gains weighing on people's finances.
Burry is infamous for his dire predictions. He diagnosed the "greatest speculative bubble of all time in all things" last summer, and warned buyers of meme stocks and cryptocurrencies that they were barreling towards the "mother of all crashes."
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