Can anybody explain what "consensus call" means in this sentence for me - To be sure, a recession is not the consensus call on Wall Street, with projections in recent days showing increased optimism? Thanks a lot.
A consensus is when most people agree on a decision.
A call (in market terms) is a forecast on the future.
A consensus call is the same market call made by a majority of market watchers (analysts, strategists, portfolio managers). Having a consensus leads to herding where most market participants will do the same thing at the same time. To do the opposite of the consensus is to be contrarian.
In your example, the projection is the forecast. When a recession occurs most participants will be gloomy in their outlook, however, your example is saying that there is increased optimism in projections which means most people (the consensus) do not think a recession will occur.
As a side note, the consensus can be horribly wrong at times, especially at turning points.
To "call" something can be to predict it, or make a judgment on it.
For instance: if there is an election and the candidates seem to have a similar number of supporters, then people who predict elections might say that the election is "too close to call". But if candidate X is clearly ahead, even though the election hasn't happened it might be said that those making predictions are "calling the election for candidate X".
The "consensus call" here is the "prevailing opinion on the likelihood of a recession". Due to recent optimistic information, the consensus is not to "make the call" that there will be a recession.
(Note: In finance terminology, there is another meaning of call... in terms of a kind of stock option:
...but this isn't talking about that.)