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S&P 500

Oct 05 2019

More Yield Curve Musings

  • Oct 5, 2019

The U.S. yield curve inversion has lasted long enough that even a few economic optimists now concede it will ultimately prove significant.

Oct 05 2019

Where Would You Rather Be?

  • Oct 5, 2019

On October 3rd, the S&P 500 briefly traded below the high it made in January 2018 before reversing to close the day higher.

Sep 07 2019

“Too Smooth” Of A Ride?

  • Sep 7, 2019

While investors in Value, Small Caps, and especially foreign stocks might beg to disagree, a key MTI technical measure suggests this decade’s stock-market ride has been almost entirely “pain free.”

Sep 07 2019

Pricing In “Peak” EPS

  • Sep 7, 2019

A recent theme in our valuation work is that we no longer need to assume a full-blown “reversion to the mean” to illustrate current U.S. stock market risks: Even a reversion to “old” bull market highs in ratios like S&P 500 Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and Normalized P/E would result in bear-sized losses.

Sep 06 2019

Factor Trade-Offs

  • Sep 6, 2019

A major difficulty in picking stocks based on quant factors is the need to make trade-offs. A company that looks attractive on one preferred metric will likely look unattractive on another. This study examines the uncomfortable give-and-take that complicates factor investing at the stock level.

Aug 09 2019

The Stock Market’s Clark Kent

  • Aug 9, 2019

Mild-mannered and humdrum on the surface but a superhero underneath—that’s Clark Kent and, in recent months, the Low Volatility factor. Low Vol stocks are unexciting by definition, and the factor’s current holdings focus on utilities, REITs, and insurance companies.

Apr 05 2019

The Cyclical Bull In Perspective

  • Apr 5, 2019

This ten-year boom—one that’s taken the S&P 500 to the second-highest valuations in history—has merely lifted the index to the top end of a channel that’s contained the S&P 500’s 6% annualized gain over the last nine decades.

Apr 05 2019

The “Breakout” And Its Aftermath

  • Apr 5, 2019

A common criticism of our long-term valuation work is that valuations shifted north into a new trading range during the 1990s, meaning Leuthold’s benchmarks (dating back to 1957 and earlier) are no longer relevant.

Apr 05 2019

The P/E Decline Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

  • Apr 5, 2019

The S&P 500 has bounced back to levels seen at the January 2018 spike high, yet is valued more cheaply than it was 14 months ago.

Apr 05 2019

A Confidence Game

  • Apr 5, 2019

Several consumer confidence gauges plunged in the wake of the Q4 market decline (as expected), and then rebounded in a lagged response to the stock market recovery (again, as expected). But March saw the largest one-month drop in consumers’ assessment of their “Present Situation” since 2008.

Mar 22 2019

Partying Like It’s 1998-99

  • Mar 22, 2019

We thought Jerome Powell’s “Christmas Capitulation” would be tough to beat, but he accomplished that two days ago with what could be called his “Spring Surrender.” That, in turn, has rekindled hopes of a stock market melt-up along the lines of 1998-99, which, as old-timers will remember, followed a late-cycle correction that was nearly identical to the one seen last year.

 

Mar 07 2019

A Scary Chart, Revisited

  • Mar 7, 2019

For a couple years, we’ve labeled the S&P 500 Price/Sales ratio as the scariest chart in the Leuthold database, and last year’s decline did little to improve its intimidating appearance.

Mar 07 2019

Time To Jump Back In?

  • Mar 7, 2019

A few pundits have suggested that Jack Bogle’s death in January might prove to be the symbolic capstone to a cycle in which passive investing has completely dominated the full-fee, active money-manager ranks.

Mar 07 2019

The Correction In Historical Context

  • Mar 7, 2019

While it’s too early to let the ink dry on the accompanying table and chart, we’ve decided to add last year’s decline for comparative purposes.

Mar 07 2019

Same As It Ever Was?

  • Mar 7, 2019

February’s Oscar win validated our efforts to make the ‘Green Book’ suitable for all audiences, like our decision to relegate “bottom-quartile” valuation outcomes to the very back of the publication.

Mar 07 2019

Once In A Lifetime?

  • Mar 7, 2019

To paraphrase a talking head and the Talking Heads, someday you might find yourself in a beautiful deleveraging, with beautiful valuations, and you may ask yourself, well, how did I get here?  

Mar 07 2019

Yet Another Anniversary?

  • Mar 7, 2019

We received two media calls in December hoping we would comment for upcoming special features about the tenth anniversary of the bull market. We rolled our eyes.

Mar 01 2019

Assessing The Cyclical Risks

  • Mar 1, 2019

With all the excitement over the Fed’s shift in rhetoric and the excellent subsequent market action, there’s a danger of losing sight of the broader cyclical backdrop for U.S. stocks. Remember, the economy is still operating beyond government estimates of its full-employment potential, and it’s not as if the Fed has actually eased policy—as it did successfully at a similar late-cycle juncture in the fall of 1998 and (ultimately unsuccessfully) in the summer of 2007.

Feb 15 2019

2019 Earnings: Don't Bet On 6%

  • Feb 15, 2019

Currently, the collective intelligence of Wall Street is predicting 6% S&P 500 EPS growth in 2019. It’s also the 61-year average annual growth rate for the index, so how wrong could it be?

Jan 08 2019

Guess-timating The Downside

  • Jan 8, 2019

While our market disciplines remain negative, we certainly aren’t oblivious to the haircut in equity valuations that’s already occurred.

Dec 28 2018

3% Yields Proved To Be High Enough

  • Dec 28, 2018

In September the popular claim was that “interest rates were rising for the right reasons,” and still too low to threaten stocks or U.S. economic expansion.

Oct 26 2018

Assessing The Damage

  • Oct 26, 2018

Our tactical accounts remain positioned very defensively, and we have yet to see the sort of capitulative market action that would lead us to lift any existing equity hedges.

 

Oct 05 2018

Estimating The Downside: The G-Rated Version

  • Oct 5, 2018

The longevity of this bull market is impacting tactical asset allocators in ways great and small.

Sep 08 2018

S&P 500—Valuation Check-Up

  • Sep 8, 2018

In late January we speculated how long it would take for the S&P 500’s bloated valuations to reach more reasonable levels. The S&P 500 now trades back where it was in January and the seven-month break included some of the best growth rates most have ever seen. We found ourselves asking: Did chubby Mr. Market shed any pounds as he pedaled away on his stationary bike?

Sep 08 2018

Breakout Or Fake-Out?

  • Sep 8, 2018

The S&P 500 has fully erased its January and February losses, but there’s probably a market message in the fact that it took so long to do so.

Sep 08 2018

Beware The Breakout

  • Sep 8, 2018

The S&P 500 finally erased the losses from its nine-day swoon in January and February.

Aug 07 2018

Assessing The Correction

  • Aug 7, 2018

How do today’s cyclical conditions stack up with those accompanying other stock market declines? 

Aug 07 2018

A Launching Pad??

  • Aug 7, 2018

A few clients pointed out that the longest-ever recovery from an intermediate correction (Apr. 1994–Feb. 1995) became the base from which the S&P 500 would eventually triple over the next five years. We’re not equipped to address that possibility in an objective fashion, so we’ll let you be the judge.

Aug 03 2018

No, It’s Not Y2K Again…But The Lights Could Still Go Out

  • Aug 3, 2018

For the last year, we have labeled the S&P 500 Price/Sales ratio—which has returned to its Y2K bubble levels—the “scariest chart in our database” (Chart 1). Recall that the initial visit to present levels was followed by the S&P 500’s first-ever negative total return decade.

 

Jul 27 2018

How The S&P 500 Could Hit 2,500… Ten Years Out

  • Jul 27, 2018

Yesterday was the six-month anniversary of the S&P 500 bull market high, and the index celebrated the event by nearly setting a new peak. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 Total Return Index did make a new high on Wednesday.

Jul 07 2018

Multiple Personality Disorder?

  • Jul 7, 2018

Market behavior is always nebulous enough to generate diverging opinions, but lately it’s been sufficiently strange to give rise to a diverging set of facts.

Jun 15 2018

Full Employment And Rising Prices Aren’t Stock-Friendly

  • Jun 15, 2018

Annual Producer Price Inflation rose to 4.0% in May, a key threshold above which the S&P 500 has historically delivered essentially flat returns. But the fact that this reading occurs against a backdrop of full employment is cause for even more concern. Context is key...

Jun 07 2018

Is The Bull Just Napping?

  • Jun 7, 2018

Old age has certainly put no limitations on the bull’s exploits, so we should be cautious in reading too much into its meandering recovery path. However, it’s possible that action since the February low is not a recovery process but rather a countertrend bounce within a larger downtrend.

Jun 01 2018

If You Think This Market’s Fishy, You’re Right

  • Jun 1, 2018

Tomorrow is the Minnesota season-opener for muskies, but the fanatics who chase them are likely disappointed that it comes a few days after an event that’s known to trigger these beasts: the full moon. The screenshot is from our $9.95 “iSolunar” iPhone app, and shows that Saturday merits only a “three fish” day (out of a possible “four fish”)—based on the moon’s fading illumination. 

 

May 05 2018

A New Hurdle For An Old Bull?

  • May 5, 2018

The first quarter S&P 500 earnings “beat” rate stands to be the highest in history, as any CEO with a pulse has learned to lower the hurdle.

May 05 2018

The “Correction” Clock Is Ticking

  • May 5, 2018

2018’s S&P 500 setback qualifies as an “intermediate” correction. Historically, the duration of intermediate corrections is brief, and recovery time to move back above prior highs has also been brief. This year’s retracement route is already among the most meandering of all recovery paths since 1950.

May 04 2018

Market Corrections And The Hazards Of Old Age

  • May 4, 2018

In difficult markets, we have become more appreciative of some of life’s small gifts. For example, it’s been quite a while since we’ve heard it argued that this is “the most hated bull market of all time.”

Apr 06 2018

Musings On Margins

  • Apr 6, 2018

Fourth quarter earnings were the last ones to be burdened by a 35% top marginal corporate income tax rate, and therefore seem to have been given a pass by the analyst community.

Apr 06 2018

Assessing The Selling

  • Apr 6, 2018

While the January 26th bull market high illustrated none of the hallmarks of a major cyclical top, there are secondary signs that a stealthy distribution process may be underway, such as an overwhelming bias toward opening market strength followed by intraday weakness.

Mar 07 2018

Mid-Term Mayhem?

  • Mar 7, 2018

The prospect of a mid-term congressional shake-up may rattle the markets in 2018. Since 1962, nine major bear market lows occurred during mid-term election years, with eight of those happening during the traditionally weak months of May through October.