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Inside The Stock Market ...trends, cross-currents, and outlook

May 07 2019

Tariff Man Tampers With Toppy Market

  • May 7, 2019

Beware of those who write about stock market history, especially when they speak of cause and effect. The truth is that the “why” can never be known.

May 07 2019

Divergence, Danger, And Delusion

  • May 7, 2019

The U.S. economy and blue chips have shrugged off the risk of the worst trade war since 1930’s Smoot-Hawley Act, while comparatively few stocks on either the NASDAQ or the NYSE have broken out to 52-week highs. There’s also the troubling talk of the Fed having tamed “the cycle.” Should investors bet on a potentially wild (but narrower) final melt-up over the next 6-12 months? We don’t like the odds.

May 07 2019

Adding EM On A Rent-To-Own Basis

  • May 7, 2019

The Major Trend Index has remained in neutral territory during the last several weeks of upside action, suggesting there remain significant fundamental and technical shortcomings beneath it all. But this precarious MTI stance didn’t preclude us from acting on a new bullish reading for Emerging Market equities at the end of April.
 

May 07 2019

Rally Like It’s 1999

  • May 7, 2019

Similarities between 2019’s YTD up-move and the late-2018 recovery are so striking they must make even the most vociferous bear queasy. The trends are identical, but the magnitude of both the absolute and relative performance movements was greater in the earlier experience.

May 07 2019

Bull Markets Are In The Eye Of The Beholder

  • May 7, 2019

The market’s four-month recovery from the brink of a bear was completed in April, and the ten-year-old bull looks better than ever against all of its post-World War II competitors.

May 07 2019

Mixed Monetary Messages

  • May 7, 2019

Confidence in the U.S. economy’s health reached a new peak with the April employment report, with a blowout number for nonfarm payroll coinciding with a soft wage print.

May 07 2019

It’s A Confidence Game

  • May 7, 2019

U.S. stock funds have seen heavy outflows despite the market’s YTD gains of 15-20%, once again reviving the tired characterization of this bull market as the “most hated in history.”

May 07 2019

Commodity Stocks: More Of The Same

  • May 7, 2019

Someone forgot to tell commodity trades this is an era of diversity of inclusivity: This year’s leap in the S&P/Goldman Sachs Commodity Index has been entirely the result of its heavily-weighted energy inputs.

May 07 2019

AANA: The Good And The Bad

  • May 7, 2019

Large Cap U.S. Technology has been the place to be this year, but even an “unmanaged” portfolio with a variety of assets has fared well so far in 2019.

May 07 2019

Where Are Yields Headed? Look In The Mirror!

  • May 7, 2019

Many economists believe U.S. economic growth will reaccelerate in the second half, sending 10-year Treasury bond yields back above 3% late in the year. A forecasting technique with an excellent record, however, suggests the return to 3% won’t occur until late next decade!

May 07 2019

Sell *Beta* In May

  • May 7, 2019

The six-month stretch beginning in May generally coincides with a narrow stock market in which non-cyclical and low volatility stocks tend to be the winners. Hence, don’t “sell” in May, but rather, tilt away from beta and away from “breadth.” These seasonal switching strategies have 70% batting averages.

May 06 2019

Bank Loan CEFs: Double Leverage Implies Higher Risk

  • May 6, 2019

In prior publications we’ve written about corporate leverage, which has risen to an alarming level, and we’re concerned that this could be a trigger for the next market downturn.

Apr 05 2019

1999 Redux

  • Apr 5, 2019

As the market rebound has extended, we’ve noted its striking similarities with the rally of 1999—one that might have been the most speculative in U.S. history.

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.

Apr 05 2019

BAA Yields: The Baaaad And The Good!

  • Apr 5, 2019

Last fall, we repeatedly noted that low grade corporate credits—measured by Moody’s BAA bond yields—were behaving, well, baaadly.

Apr 05 2019

Inveighing Against The Inversion

  • Apr 5, 2019

Some recent headlines are word-for-word regurgitations of those published in response to the early-2006 yield curve inversion. In that case, the naysayers were temporarily correct, as both the U.S. economy and stock market pushed higher for another year and a half before rolling over.

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

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 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

Bottom-Spotting In Foreign Stocks

  • Apr 5, 2019

The tale of two markets has existed for years, but now it’s getting ridiculous.

Apr 05 2019

VLT & Implications For Small Caps

  • Apr 5, 2019

For much of this decade, we had an allocation preference for Large Caps over Small Caps because of the considerable P/E premium commanded by the latter.

Apr 05 2019

Small Cap Biotech Getting Pricey Again

  • Apr 5, 2019

In May 2015, we warned about rich valuations for small cap Biotech stocks and looked at various ways to evaluate those companies, as the majority have no approved drugs on the market, thus no revenue; therefore, valuing these companies using the conventional methodology is problematic.

Mar 07 2019

‘Green Book’ Wins Best Picture!

  • Mar 7, 2019

We’re almost at a loss for words! But we want to thank our parents, siblings, extended family, an eighth grade English teacher who doubted us for an entire year, and our golden retriever, Miley.

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 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

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

Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

  • Mar 7, 2019

While the celebration over Jerome Powell’s “Christmas Capitulation” lingered throughout February, we’re still awaiting signs the capitulation consisted of anything more than words.

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

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 Emerging Markets Dilemma

  • Mar 7, 2019

We’ve been either light on Emerging Market stocks or out of them altogether since early 2011, but have lately been watching for an opportune time to re-enter.

Mar 07 2019

Unemployment And The Point Of No Return

  • Mar 7, 2019

We’ve done extensive work on the yield curve, but until now had entirely overlooked an employment-based recession indicator that’s lately come into focus.

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

Sector Concentration And Effects On Country Performance

  • Mar 7, 2019

Is the performance of certain countries mainly driven by particular sectors? And, does U.S. sector performance drive the performance of other countries? (i.e., when U.S. Financials underperform, do foreign countries with large Financials sector weights underperform?). We did some data crunching to address the second question.

Feb 07 2019

A High-Risk Rally

  • Feb 7, 2019

During the market bounce over the last few weeks, we reminded ourselves and others of the old maxim that “bear market rallies look better than the real thing.” Evidently, the stock market overheard us and took the advice as marching orders.
 

Feb 07 2019

Did The Doves Swoop In And Save The Day?

  • Feb 7, 2019

Just a few months ago, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell boasted a reputation as a straight-talking, sound-money banker.

Feb 07 2019

It Wasn’t Powell Who Panicked

  • Feb 7, 2019

The Fed’s “Christmas capitulation” seems to get most of the credit for the stock market rebound, but we’re not exactly sure how, or even if, the Fed capitulated at all.

Feb 07 2019

Credit Conundrum

  • Feb 7, 2019

The stock market seems to have concluded that a recession will be averted in 2019, but evidence from other asset markets is less convincing.

Feb 07 2019

What Are Bonds Telling Us?

  • Feb 7, 2019

Corporate bonds aren’t the only asset reluctant to embrace the stock market’s latest “all clear” verdict on the 2019 economy.

Feb 07 2019

1998 Parallels

  • Feb 7, 2019

There are enough parallels between the 1998 and 2018 market declines that we decided to flesh out the comparison a bit more.

Feb 07 2019

Trend-Following Travails

  • Feb 7, 2019

To recap our allocation moves over the last year: We established an initial equity hedge in tactical accounts very close to the January 2018 highs.