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Driven by massive government stimulus, an imminent vaccine rollout, and the expectation of record earnings in 2021, investors seem to be on the verge of embracing a move away from Large Cap Growth stocks in earnest. The leading candidates offered as broad-based alternatives to Large Growth (LG) include Value, Small Caps, and Emerging Markets.
Balanced portfolio investors face a difficult challenge finding equity alternatives that modify risk without overly reducing reward. The problem is acute because traditional choices have lost much of their historic appeal. Cash certainly lessens volatility, but, with a zero yield, its reward penalty is excessive.
Although COVID-19 has significantly impacted everyone, its economic wake has been unusually bifurcated compared to past crises. Since the pandemic requires social distancing, the recession and its aftermath have been concentrated disproportionately among “social and lower-earning” industries. This odd, if not unique, divergence in the economic fortunes of low and high-earning industries perhaps explains how overall real GDP, the unemployment rate, the housing industry, manufacturing activities, and other economic segments have managed to recover quickly and powerfully.
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).
Doug Ramsey, CIO at The Leuthold Group gives his mid-year update, provides some valuable context for the current market, and presents his outlook for the rest of 2020. Scott Opsal, Director of Equities and Portfolio Manager, also gives a brief update on portfolio positioning and asset allocation considerations before a Q&A with both Doug and Scott.
Extraordinarily low bond yields—often negative bond yields outside the U.S.—have significantly elevated investor anxieties, leaving the impression of facing a high-risk, low-return world. Consequently, during much of the contemporary expansion, the existence of very low yields has pushed several investors toward a more conservative portfolio allocation.
The S&P 500 did not suffer a bear market last year. At least not by the conventional definition of a 20% decline. However, it was razor close—dropping 19.8% from its highest- to lowest-daily close. Given that, in every way except for -0.2%, the U.S. stock market did suffer a Bear last year, how does its 2019 rally compare thus far to the average “Bull Market Rally?”