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Tom Brady and the US economy have a lot in common

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Tom Brady and the US economy have a lot in common

Tom BradyReuters/Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

  • Tom Brady, the quarterback of the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots, shares some similarities with the US economy, according to Bank of America.
  • The firm says that even though Brady is the oldest quarterback in the NFL, he’s an “effective” player.
  • Similarly, the current US business cycle is in its late stages, but investors can still find reasons to be optimistic about the economy’s health, BAML says.

“This looks like the Tom Brady of business cycles: old but effective.”

That’s what the Bank of America Merrill Lynch global economist Ethan Harris told clients in a report likening the six-time Super Bowl champion to the aging condition of the US economy’s current business cycle, which began in the wake of the financial crisis.

The report was published Friday, before Brady won his record sixth Super Bowl, but it drew parallels between the New England Patriots quarterback and the state of the US economy. At age 41, Brady on Sunday became the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. In July, the current US business cycle will become the longest on record.

“Business cycles don’t die of old age, they die of excesses,” Harris contended, pointing to this chart that shows the duration of US business cycles and drawing on an observation market strategists make about aging bull markets.

“Surely the old geezer is about to keel over. We would flip this argument on its head: what this chart shows is that there is no fixed length for business cycles.”

2 4 19 recovery lengths COTDBank of America Merrill Lynch

Harris noted that some recoveries could turn out to be quite long, as in the 1960s, when he said the “Fed did not do its job and allowed inflation to run out of control.” Others can be relatively short, like from 1980 to 1981 when the central bank clamped down on inflation.

He said the latest cycle simply didn’t feature classic warning signs at the moment that would lead him to worry about the state of the economy, and he called late-cycle fears “overdone.” He pointed to absent warning signs like an inflation-fighting central bank, a “spending and financing bubble” in a big sector of the economy, and a meaningful spike in oil prices.

The Federal Reserve said last week that it would leave interest rates unchanged and that inflation expectations remained low. While Harris noted there were some “bubbly” areas in financing, he didn’t see any systemic risk. Additionally, he said the oil market had become stabilized in part because of fracking.

Both the quarterback and the economy have gotten the stamp of approval from President Donald Trump — over and over again. Trump has viewed the stock market’s performance as a report card for his success in office, and he frequently touts strong employment reports and stock-market records on Twitter.

“Best January for the DOW in over 30 years. We have, by far, the strongest economy in the world!” Trump tweeted on Friday.

While Trump has not yet tweeted about Brady’s most recent Super Bowl victory, he has praised the quarterback several times and has been quoted joking that he could have had the quarterback as his son-in-law.

“What an amazing comeback and win by the Patriots,” Trump tweeted after the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017. “Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and Coach B are total winners. Wow!” He gave similar praise in 2013.

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