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S&P 500

Jun 05 2020

The Money Supply Isn’t Magic

  • Jun 5, 2020

Imagine our surprise when the bullish stock market narrative is suddenly all about money. Cynically, though, that might be because money supply and the unemployment rate are the only economic data series staging upside breakouts, and the latter doesn’t lend itself to a good narrative.

Jun 05 2020

A Long Boom, And The Ultimate Bust

  • Jun 5, 2020

Last December, we marveled at the disconnect between the (surging) S&P 500 and the (sagging) Boom/Bust Indicator. Just six months later, we can only scratch our heads at what the hell we were complaining about.

May 29 2020

Can The Rally Recover From Its 0-For-8 Start?

  • May 29, 2020

The current rally is either the first upleg of a new bull market, or the second-largest bear market rally in the last 125 years. The lone development that can settle the issue is for the S&P 500 to move above its February 19th closing high of 3,386.15.

May 07 2020

Calculate The Next Low... With The Last Peak?

  • May 7, 2020

How does one value a stock market in which 12-month forward EPS estimates show their widest dispersion in history? A good start might be with methods we use when forward estimates show practically no dispersion (like three months ago). In either case, we place little weight on such estimates; each revision usually has only marginal impact on our 5-Year Normalized EPS.

May 07 2020

There’s More To It Than That

  • May 7, 2020

It’s a down year for stocks, yet John Bogle must still be chuckling. A full-employment economy that had propped up one of the two most overvalued stock markets in U.S. history just suffered a cataclysmic “sudden stop.” Yet Bogle’s buy-and-hold disciplines have so far dodged the bear.

Apr 30 2020

A “May Day” Revolution?

  • Apr 30, 2020

With May Day marches and demonstrations cancelled, the workers of the world have one less opportunity to remind us of the ever-widening wealth gap and the evils of the “Top 1%.” It’s a shame, because this was the year that we active managers would have stood shoulder to shoulder with those protesters voicing our own contempt for the “Top 1%”… of the S&P 500.

 

Mar 20 2020

Valuations: A “Progress” Report

  • Mar 20, 2020

As deep as the losses in the DJIA and S&P 500 have been, most professional investors recognize that those averages have masked the extent of the damage suffered by most stocks.

Mar 13 2020

Better Than Bonds And An All-Time Record

  • Mar 13, 2020

The collapse of U.S. Treasury yields and the simultaneous end of the bull market has produced a new all-time record for the S&P 500, albeit under less-than-desirable circumstances.

Mar 06 2020

A Signal Bulls Should Love...

  • Mar 6, 2020

There’s no question that it’s been a rough couple of years for stock market technicians. We noted earlier that if February 19th stands as the final high of the bull market, it would be only the third time in the last 100 years that the NYSE Daily Advance/Decline Line failed to provide at least a few months’ advance notice of the oncoming bear.

Mar 06 2020

Valuation “Reset?”

  • Mar 6, 2020

The massive performance dispersion of the past two years makes it difficult (if not hazardous) to draw a simple conclusion about U.S. stock market valuations. But it’s safe to say that cap-weighted indexes like the S&P 500 and S&P Industrial Index remained significantly overvalued at the low point of the February correction.

Feb 07 2020

Superhuman Feats Got Us Here

  • Feb 7, 2020

The simultaneous “New Era” ascension in margins and P/E ratios hasn’t generated anything exceptional from a return perspective. To the contrary, annualized S&P 500 total returns over this 25-year period of margin magic and (mostly) escalating P/E ratios merely match “Old Era” returns.

Jan 24 2020

What’s Embedded In The Consensus?

  • Jan 24, 2020

Market momentum now seems to outweigh simple math in the minds of most investors, and we are not entirely immune. Today our tactical funds are positioned with net equity exposure of 50%, the midpoint of the normal 30-70% range. That’s a higher allocation than if we considered only business cycle dynamics and equity valuations.

 

Jan 10 2020

The Stock Market Is Trading Like Trump’s A Democrat!

  • Jan 10, 2020

Around the time of Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, we observed that prevailing valuations argued against him witnessing big stock market gains during his first term.

Jan 08 2020

A Good Year To “Own It All”

  • Jan 8, 2020

It’s no surprise that U.S. Large Caps were the #1 asset class performer in 2019. We were surprised that last year was the only one of the decade in which the S&P 500 won the annual performance derby. Here we review the annual performance of “Bridesmaid” asset class and sector, “Perfect Foresight,” and Lowest P/E sector.

Jan 08 2020

Stocks And GDP

  • Jan 8, 2020

Economists argue the best thing the stock market has going for it is the continuation of the U.S. economic expansion. Maybe.

Jan 08 2020

Waiting For The Stimulus To Trickle Down...

  • Jan 8, 2020

Last year the Federal Reserve dumped historic stimulus onto a full-employment economy and an already richly-valued stock market. The stock market obviously loved it.

Jan 08 2020

A Spectacularly Average Thirty Years

  • Jan 8, 2020

In the spirit of good holiday cheer, we made a partial concession to the True Believers with a December “Chart of the Week” in which we narrowed our stock market valuation analysis to the historically elevated levels of last 30 years.

Jan 08 2020

A Blast From The Past

  • Jan 8, 2020

With 2020 representing The Leuthold Group’s 40th year of publishing Perception For The Professional, we perused the first few Green Books for relevant nuggets from 1981, but the backdrop could not have been more different. Therefore, we instead turned the clock back 20 years, thinking it might yield insights more resonant with today’s environment.

Dec 20 2019

Valuations: An Updated “Modern” Take

  • Dec 20, 2019

An occasional critique of our valuation work is that we consider “too much” market history to form a judgment as to what constitutes “high” or “low.” This type of feedback declined during and after the financial crisis (when historic valuation thresholds were temporarily revisited), but it has become more pointed as the U.S. market has soared to new highs.

 

Dec 13 2019

How Much Should We Pay For Market Momentum?

  • Dec 13, 2019

If the S&P 500 closes in the green today, an RSI "overbought" signal will be triggered.

Dec 06 2019

Risks Still High In The “Median” Large Cap

  • Dec 6, 2019

The relative domination of Mega Caps might leave the impression that valuation of the “typical” (or median) Large Cap stock is reasonable. It’s not. The fall rally leaves all major valuation ratios for the median S&P 500 stock in the top decile of the 30-year history, and above the levels prevailing at the September 2018 market high.

Nov 07 2019

A Short-Term S&P Top?

  • Nov 7, 2019

The short-term path for equities “looks” clearer than at any point in 2019, with economic data having stabilized a bit in the last few weeks, the Fed having cut rates again and resumed balance sheet purchases, and some type of trade deal finally looking more tangible than a 2:00 a.m. Tweet.

Nov 07 2019

Back To Y2K?

  • Nov 7, 2019

The bull market took out another old record last month when the S&P 500 topped the cumulative total return of the 1949-56 upswing. The total return since March 9, 2009, is now 468%. Since the highs of March 2000, the S&P 500 cumulative total return is actually a few basis points behind U.S. 10-year Treasury bonds.

Oct 23 2019

Owning S&P 500 At 2,900 In 2018 Vs. 2019

  • Oct 23, 2019

A look at underlying conditions at each stage of the bull market.

Oct 18 2019

Giving Up The Ghost

  • Oct 18, 2019

The approach of Halloween brings thoughts of jack-o-lanterns, scary movies, and buckets full of candy. The season also marks the time when investors finally give up the ghost on the optimistic, even wishful, earnings forecasts made early in the year.

Oct 11 2019

If Your Team Is Out Of The Playoffs, Here’s A New Gamble

  • Oct 11, 2019

With promised breakthroughs on Brexit and the trade war miraculously occurring on the same day, few pundits now believe the market is anywhere close to an important peak. (A peak in the S&P 500, that is, since peaks occurred long ago in the ACWI, MSCI Emerging Markets, NYSE Composite, Value Line Arithmetic, S&P MidCap 400, and the Russell 2000.)

 

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.