Economic growth in the contemporary expansion has been perpetually weaker than any in the post-war era. Many explanations have been offered for why the U.S. is stuck in low gear, including aging demographics, overextended balance sheets, overused and increasingly ineffective economic policies, and a tech-boom-induced world awash with excess capacity.Read more
Just some noodling over an array of issues including:
- What private sector confidence currently suggests about the stock-bond allocation tilt?
- Is the fuel for Populism fading?
- Will winning the trade war cause U.S. stocks to lose?
- How have stocks performed once the unemployment rate bottoms?
- What does a 2019 U.S. economic slowdown imply for the 2020 election?
- A nice revaluation refresh for stocks!
We look at our domestic Airlines’ GS Score and examine the historical relationship between oil prices and Airline stocks. Additionally, we explore several other data sets to determine where the industry’s supply/demand picture stands heading into 2019.Read more
From a Momentum perspective, chart work has improved across the board but much of the longer-term trend work has remained in neutral or bear territory. These measures are, by definition, late at turning points, and we strongly prefer that the “anticipatory” tools within the MTI drive most of the swings.Read more
Emerging Markets (EM) are not generally considered defensive investments and, therefore, investors do not often turn toward these economically-sensitive stocks near the end of a bull market cycle. However, as Chart 1 highlights, if the current economic expansion/bull market is in its late innings, perhaps you should consider “Emerging for the Finish.”
During the December carnage many Bulls were killed on the battlefield and others badly wounded. This year, although the skirmish has quieted, most remain on edge. However, investors may just now be jumping out of their foxholes because the Cavalry has recently been sighted coming over the hill with bugles blaring!Read more
The passing of investment legend John Bogle has brought forth many well-deserved tributes to his professional accomplishments. He was a tireless champion of passive investing and the founder of The Vanguard Group which, as more than a few investors don’t realize, also manages almost $1 trillion in active funds.Read more
The Attitudinal category remains solidly bullish, suggesting there are significant investor doubts surrounding the rally. The market has also absorbed the past few days’ earnings torpedoes fairly well, another sign that expectations are still subdued.Read more
While many factors will determine how the stock market ultimately does this year (e.g., the pace of economic and earnings growth, valuation, policy support, and technicals), a few indicators show “sentiment” remains supportive for the stock market.Read more
Donald Trump is thought to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and the economic circumstances prevailing at his inauguration two years ago might have further perpetuated that view. The U.S. economy had already been in recovery mode for 7 1/2 years, and the bull market in U.S. stocks was about to celebrate its eighth birthday.Read more
The fourth quarter selloff and subsequent rebound, as seen by Doug Ramsey (Chief Investment Officer) and Jim Paulsen (Chief Investment Strategist).Read more
While growth rates in M1, M2, and MZM appear to have leveled off following their sharp declines over the prior 18 months, the annual rate of decline in the Adjusted Monetary Base (a good proxy for the Fed’s balance sheet) accelerated to almost 12% at year-end from just 3% six months earlier.Read more
The next recession, whenever it is, could face an unusual headwind. Normally, recessions are about liquidating fundamental excesses. Restoring health to balance sheets which were abused in the last expansion, purging bad business decisions, restoring liquidity, replenishing savings, and restarting the profit, job, and income creation cycles.
In 2018, the U.S. recovery was on a path toward recession. It couldn’t last much longer growing above 3% in real terms and 5.5% in nominal terms, with an unemployment rate below 4%. Wages, consumer, producer, and commodity prices were rising and the Federal Reserve (Fed) and bond vigilantes were tightening.Read more
The move off the late-December lows has been broad and powerful but not at all unusual for a countertrend move in a bear market. Since 1945, bear market rallies in the S&P 500 have lasted an average of six weeks and carried the index higher by an average of 10.8%.Read more
Quality is one of the most popular and successful of the equity market’s quant factors. It is intuitively appealing and serves as a useful defensive strategy in falling markets. Low Volatility and Dividend Growth are also defensive factors, while Momentum and High Beta are viewed as aggressive or bullish factors. These offsetting behaviors would seem to make for excellent diversification opportunities in equity portfolios, and for the most part, that is true.Read more
We wrote in the January Green Book that the S&P 500 Christmas Eve low did not have the “right look,” in that: (1) there had been no sign of “smart money” accumulation beforehand; and, (2) downside momentum was also at a new low for the entire correction. Smart money buying is measured by the Smart Money Flow Index, which evaluates trends in first half-hour market action (considered to be more emotional and news-driven), and the last hour of trading (viewed to be more informed and institutional in nature).Read more
Amongst the carnage and ongoing financial market volatility are a few encouraging signs the stock market may eventually regain its footing. As the pictures below illustrate, a proprietary U.S. economic momentum indicator suggests that recession fears may lessen by the spring, valuations have now fallen well below levels justified by bond yields, investor mindsets are quickly shifting away from overheat fears, and the U.S. dollar may finally be breaking down.Read more
In terms of long-term planning, corporate executives are often tasked with choosing between expanding their business or returning cash as a way to reward shareholders. In the quant world, the two decisions have a consequence on future stock returns.Read more
While investors obsess over the market level at which a hypothetical “Powell Put” might come into play (or whether such a put even exists), they seem to have overlooked the absence of another such put that proved dependable throughout the cyclical bull market.Read more
The Homebuilding stocks represent another Consumer Discretionary group ranking Attractive via our GS Scores; we have held the Homebuilding group for the last year and a half. Homebuilders is an extremely rate-conscious industry group given mortgage rates’ impact on housing affordability (and thus, demand).Read more
The Attitudinal category’s net reading is the best (i.e., most pessimistic) since the week following the February 2016 correction low. While that’s an encouraging sign, there’s no mechanical threshold on this composite which would indicate a “safe” re-entry point.Read more
Welcome to 2019! As we begin the New Year, volatility (the stock market’s VIX volatility index spiked above 30 last week) and uncertainty (Bear Market, Recession?) reign. Amongst all the chaos, and with much personal trepidation over what may actually happen this year, here are some observations and a few guesses for 2019.Read more
The lack of more meaningful MTI improvement in response to this month’s collapse suggests the bear has yet to fully express himself. But the swipes he’s taken so far have hit hard: Last week saw a nearly 150-point gain in the Intrinsic Value composite to its best level since April 2016.
It’s been one of the worst years on record for diversification, with our hypothetical All Asset No Authority (AANA) portfolio down 7.2% YTD through yesterday. That’s the second-worst year for AANA since 1972, and there’s probably not enough time left for performance to undercut 2008 (-24.9%) for the bottom spot.