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Chart Of The Week

Nov 25 2020

The “Transportation” Divergence

  • Nov 25, 2020

The Dow Jones Transportation Average has recently notched fresh all-time highs. Following a sizable relative performance dip earlier in the year, the Transports’ relative strength has recovered and moved to new 2020 highs (Chart 1).  Still, compared to the broad market, the index’s YTD return appears fairly unremarkable, outpacing the S&P 500 by about 3%.

Nov 20 2020

The Rotation Should Hardly Be A “Surprise”

  • Nov 20, 2020

Consumer Price Inflation of 1.2% for the twelve months through October remains way below the Fed’s long-time 2% objective, which is nothing new. But a first step in getting inflation to eventually run a little bit “hot” (the Fed’s new objective) is to break the long-term disinflationary psychology among consumers and investors, and that is clearly happening. In fact, based on the excellent “Inflation Surprise” Indexes published monthly by Citi, the U.S. is now the world’s inflationary hotspot!

Nov 13 2020

Momentum’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!

  • Nov 13, 2020

If Momentum and Growth investors thought they were escaping 2020 unscathed, they learned otherwise on Monday. Pfizer’s promising news about a COVID-19 vaccine was met with universal excitement and investors rearranging portfolios—taking gains in long-term winners and plowing into beaten-down cyclical stocks. 

Oct 29 2020

It’s Time To Choose

  • Oct 29, 2020

Which box do you check? The “status quo” or the “change of pace?” Keep in mind, the same decision in front of you turned out to be extraordinarily important four years ago. So, which will it be for 2020 and beyond? Large Cap Growth or Small Cap Value?

 

Oct 23 2020

Election—Another Chance For Value

  • Oct 23, 2020

As we Chinese watch the elegant display of the western democratic process this election season, we can’t help but think there are indeed people less fortunate than us “commies.” Worse yet, some of these people are Value investors.

 

Oct 16 2020

Leuthold Factor Tilt Update

  • Oct 16, 2020

Factor analysis is a point of emphasis in Leuthold’s tactical research activities, and this note summarizes our Factor Tilt outlook going into the fourth quarter. Factors are return drivers such as Value, Momentum, and Quality, and research has found that factor results vary over time—but that does not mean they are random.

Oct 09 2020

Small Cap Catch-Up?

  • Oct 9, 2020

The big jump in Small Caps over the last two weeks has entirely reversed the segment’s summer underperformance and has technicians feverish about another “breath thrust.” Technically, it’s impressive, but we are more intrigued by the fundamental potential for continued Small Cap (and Mid Cap) outperformance.

 

Oct 01 2020

European Banks: Buy Low…?

  • Oct 1, 2020

As steadfast believers that “price paid” is a major determinant of an investment’s risk and return, we snap to attention whenever we hear that an asset is selling at a multi-decade low.

Sep 24 2020

A Wobble At The Top

  • Sep 24, 2020

Look, quick! Before it reverses! The Top-5 firms in the S&P 500 have underperformed in September! I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive my sense of urgency, but the astounding speed and consistency in which these firms have outperformed may have burned the notion into my brain that they can only “go up” (or at the very least beat the index).

Sep 18 2020

Inflation: Looking Beyond The CPI

  • Sep 18, 2020

The Fed is hell-bent on generating inflation of 2% or higher in an over-supplied world that we think should probably be experiencing mild deflation. Their success or failure at this mission will be critical for asset allocators. For equity managers who must remain fully invested, however, the more important question might be not whether the Fed can generate higher inflation, but where.

 

Jul 24 2020

“Guess What’s Been Exceptional?”

  • Jul 24, 2020

How can an equity manager possibly keep up with the QQQ—an ETF that’s almost 50% invested in the six largest U.S. companies?

Easy! Own the vehicle that benefits the most from a collapse in global trade volume and an escalating cold war between the U.S. and China—the EEM (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF)!

Jul 16 2020

2020 Earnings And The Extremophile Market

  • Jul 16, 2020

As we wade into the waters of second-quarter earnings, muddied by economic shutdowns and suspended guidance, we thought it might be a good exercise to pull back from the “micro” of firm-level beats and misses and examine the “macro” picture that is the Great Earnings Washout of 2020.

 

Jul 10 2020

The Growth Style’s Twin Peaks

  • Jul 10, 2020

The strong market rebound in the second quarter lifted the relative return of Growth vs. Value to an all-time high by the end of June. Chart 1 reveals that the cumulative S&P 500 Growth / Value return spread hit a new record last month, surpassing the previous high reached at the end of the Tech bubble in June 2000. 

Jun 26 2020

Should You Trust The Thrust?

  • Jun 26, 2020

During the first two months of the rally (and +30%) off the March lows, we noted that the usual cyclical leaders of a new bull market were underperforming on a relative basis, and there had been nothing even close to the “breadth thrust” that often accompanies an initial bull market up-leg.

Jun 19 2020

It’s Demographics, Stupid! (Not The Economy.)

  • Jun 19, 2020

Turn on financial television at any random time, and you’re likely to soon hear the argument that still-high U.S. stock market valuations are “justified” by extremely-low interest rates. We’ve countered that these low U.S. rates are simply a reflection of the secular slowdown in economic and earnings growth.

Jun 12 2020

Keep An Eye On What Your Stocks Will Buy

  • Jun 12, 2020

News that the Bureau of Labor Statistics may have undercounted the May unemployment rate by six percentage points should remind investors of the danger of taking government economic reports too seriously. Regardless of the figure, though, unemployment is no doubt near its peak for the downturn.

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 15 2020

The Chart Everyone Missed

  • May 15, 2020

When we first met Steve Leuthold in the old company office in a renovated warehouse, he was updating a several-foot-long chart of either the DJIA or S&P 500, by hand, and we got a brief lecture on the importance of using logarithmic scale on price charts.

 

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.

 

Apr 24 2020

This Bounce Lacks “Oomph”

  • Apr 24, 2020

Through last night’s close, the S&P 500 had gained 25.0% in exactly one month. Impressive, but a bit superficial. Anyone running active equity portfolios recognizes the breadth of this move has been unusually narrow.