We’ve discussed market analogies with the year 1999 at length, and will give it a rest for awhile—in part because parallels to the year 2000 have cropped up! In the first five weeks of 2020, the NASDAQ 100 has already outperformed the NYSE Composite by about 7%, while in the first five weeks of 2000 the spread was 8%.
The 1999 leadership parallels we discussed in the latest Green Book remain intact—U.S. over foreign, Growth over Value, and Large over Small. Small Caps have given up most of the “beta bounce” enjoyed in the first two months off the December low, with one Small Cap measure—the Russell Microcap Index (the bottom 1000 of the Russell 2000)—undercutting last year’s relative strength low and those of 2011 and 2016.
This year we’ve written several notes surrounding the Consumer Discretionary sector’s prominence among our top Group Selection (GS) Scores. This pattern persisted for a fifth consecutive month in April.
Emerging Market stocks are probably the cheapest equity subgroup in the world today, trading at 13.0x our 5-Year Normalized EPS estimate—much lower than that of foreign Developed Markets (17.6x) and the S&P 500 (21.3x). But, EM stocks have languished near these valuation levels for almost three years.
It’s time to start looking but too early to start buying. In this issue the groundwork is laid for being ahead of the crowd in timing a potential move back into the traditional inflation hedge stocks. A new conceptual stock grouping is introduced (The Inflation Resurgence? Index) and the current status of some inflation monitoring tools is reviewed. If a re-entry can be timed well, a profitable tactical move may be in store sooner than most now expect.