Stock Market Internals Earnings Momentum, Small/Mid/Large Caps, Growth/Value/Cyclicals, and Additional Factors
With the S&P 500 now within spitting distance of breaking even year-to-date, we seem to be witnessing an illusion worthy of David Copperfield. From the market’s perspective, the problems that were very much right in front of us during the limit down days of March seemed to have vanished into thin air.
April was a month of plummeting payrolls, eviscerated earnings, and crashing commodities—some of the worst data since the 1930s. It was also the best month of performance for the S&P 500 since January 1987 and it helped lower the YTD loss to the single digits. The punishment, it would seem, doesn’t fit the crime.
Microsoft and Amazon, the #1 and #3 firms by weight, somehow managed to post a positive return for the quarter. The other Tech Titans all posted results better than the overall index—increasing the Top 5 firms’ S&P 500 weight from 16.8% to 19.5% in Q1. This is easily a new record for our 1990-present data set.
Our Ratio of Ratios now sits near the lows experienced last summer. More interesting though, our Small Cap trailing P/E ratio is at its lowest absolute level (16.1x) since May of 2012.
Our favorite Cupertino-based tech firm is on a roll. Over the past two months, Apple has gained 19.1% and added $160 billion to its market valuation (that’s one Citigroup or two Caterpillars). This advance has propelled Apple back into the exalted 4% club (market cap within S&P 500), joining Microsoft with a similar $1.1 trillion valuation.
The weather vane on top of the S&P 500 swung violently in September. A sudden preference for Value stocks (not just low volatility) over Growth was intertwined with a dramatic crash in the Momentum factor. Similarly, the Equal Weighted Average, which had been steadily losing ground to the Cap Weighted measure, snapped back and almost pulled even in YTD performance.