Prospects for a recession are multiplying -- enough so that The Economist magazine, on the cover of its latest issue, shows a picture of a black hole with the words Be Afraid.
That's not much of an investment strategy, but it is indicative of just how many mainstream observers, like The Economist, have come around to a point of view that was once the exclusive domain of so-called conspiracy theorists and so-called perma-bears.
Here is a roundup of 14 recent signs the world is sliding backward, financially.
1. Greece missed its deficit reduction targets for 2011 and 2012. Very few people think the nation will avoid defaulting.
2. The Eurozone purchasing managers index composite fell to 49.2 last month from 50.7 in August, signaling contraction in economic activity.
3. A European Commission survey showed a decline for the seventh consecutive month to 95 from 98.4.
4. German retail sales suffered their largest decline -- 3 percent -- in four years in August.
5. Switzerland's leading economic indicator was down in August, its fourth straight decline, and now stands at a two-year low.
6. Portugal's deficit stood at 8.8 percent of gross domestic product at the end of June.
7. Spain's jobless rate ticked up to 21.2 percent from 21.2 percent in July.
8. Chinese property prices are falling and credit conditions are tightening.
9. The final HSBC China Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for September remained the key 50 level for the third month in a row.
10. Japan posted weaker-than-expected industrial production data for August.
11. The University of Michigan sentiment index edged up last month but remains in recession territory.
12. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index for September showed supplier deliveries down from 60.5 to 51.9, the lowest level since September 2009.
13. The Economic Cycle Research Institute's weekly leading economic index fell for the eighth week in a row to minus 7.2 from minus 6.74.
14. The stock market is headed into bear market territory, or so Sam Stovall, chief equity strategist for Standard & Poor's, says the stock market is headed into a bear market. Specifically, Stovall is forecasting the S&P 500 to drop to 915. It's been well said that the stock market has correctly predicted nine of the last five recessions, but in combination with numbers one through 13 above, it might be wise to take note of the equity markets' dour view of company earnings.