It’s official…the U.S. stock market made its way back into bull market territory, meaning a rise of 20% or more from previous lows recorded last fall. Furthermore, the S&P 500 posted its second-best performance since 2000. Notably, three sectors (groups of related industries), Consumer Discretionary, Technology, and Communications Services led the market’s performance so far this year, carrying the other eight that underperformed -Consumer Staples, Industrials, Materials, Real Estate, Energy, Financials, Health Care, and Utilities. Narrow market leadership like this, with only a few stocks in a handful of sectors driving results, are not as uncommon as investors may think…
What happens when depositors want their money all at once? You get SVB (Silicon Valley Bank)! To prevent a further run on banks, the Federal Reserve recently established the Bank Term Funding Program. In addition to restoring confidence in the U.S. banking system, an indirect benefit of the Program provides stability to equity and fixed income markets. Banks can access the Program to borrow by pledging eligible debt securities, such as U.S. Treasury and government agency instruments, currently held at unrealized losses, and receive full value for their collateral at one hundred cents on the dollar or par (the price at maturity). The result provides stressed banks’ balance sheets with an additional $620 billion in collateral, covering the shortfall in unrealized market losses of fixed income securities caused by the Fed’s repeated interest rate hikes. This strategy is similar to previous temporary moves by the Fed during the 2020 Pandemic and the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis. Like those prior incidents, losses to the Deposit Insurance Fund will be covered by a special assessment on banks, not taxpayers.
Investment companies traditionally start their January communication by first covering the year in review then addressing their outlook for the new year. We believe our clients would be better served by devoting less time to rehashing yesterday’s news or focusing on current industry predictions. Why? Over the past 20 or more years, Wall Street annual forecasts miss the mark by 12 percentage points compared to the actual S&P 500 return. More beneficial is gaining an awareness of events that can influence financial markets in the short-term yet not detract from longer-term market results.
Given today’s elevated uncertain state of economic and political conditions, both here and abroad, financial markets unsurprisingly remain turbulent. Everyone is aware that our nation’s central bank, the Federal Reserve (Fed), is raising interest rates, which influences much of the world to do the same. But are they moving too far, too fast to reduce inflation? Will they cause a recession or steer our economy toward a softer landing? Nobody knows for certain, not even the Fed. Many of the measures of economic activity, including inflation, that influence Fed actions look to the recent past rather than provide perfect insight into the future. Nevertheless, their decisions can have consequences that materially impact the welfare of all societies around the globe. That is the reason for such strong attention focused on every Fed talking point.
Many of today’s investors have never been through a period where inflation has risen to such uncomfortable levels or when a war has so dramatically impacted global commodity prices. Adding to these circumstances are the lingering implications of COVID supply chain disruptions as well as anticipated consequences from mid-term elections. These concerns, often driven by alarming headlines, are putting many investors in an anxious state of mind and causing some to feel they need to act.
The Investment Counsel Company’s latest quarterly commentary discusses our thoughts on current economic conditions, challenges and other trends, important to investors.
The Investment Counsel Company’s latest Quarterly Commentary discusses our thoughts on current economic conditions and other trends, important to investors, that will likely develop in 2022.
We thought you might be interested in our Firm’s latest quarterly commentary discussing our thoughts on the current economic conditions. After a historic run of new highs and rising over 20% this year alone, U.S. equity markets are finally experiencing their first 5% pullback in 11 months.
The world has undergone unprecedented changes since the beginning of 2020. Never have stock market gains occurred so quickly as the post-COVID bull market. To the surprise of many, the market continues to shrug off investors’ strongest fears to date, including inflation, COVID resurgence, Federal Reserve tapering/rising interest rates, and excess retail investment speculation.
The stock market recently marked the one-year anniversary of the 2020 bear market waterfall lows, providing an opportunity to examine what history suggests might occur this year based on the recent recovery. The S&P 500’s four-quarter gain of 54% is the fourth-highest since 1926 and best since WWII.
2020 was a year unlike any other, that meaningfully contributed to over a decade of recovery in the financial markets that is impressive by historical comparison over the past century. Even if a person was so unlucky to start investing at the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis in late 2007 but remained steadfast through both the worst financial crisis and pandemic in 100 years, this investor still would have prospered handsomely.
Dominated by a handful of stocks benefitting from Covid-19…Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft, Apple, and Google, the S&P 500 soared 35% from April through August, its best five months since 1938. The index fell 4% in September, but the six-month gain of 30% was still the best since 2009. During a recovery, as recently experienced, there are always investors that succumb to instinctive fears by irresistibly extrapolating possible negative outcomes of future economic and political events, often disrupting their longer-term strategic investment plans.
It’s hard to believe that the “Good Old Days” were just six months ago. High volatility is now the norm and not the exception. So far this year, the shortest major decline in history was followed by the second fastest rising bull market since 1932. To what degree this trend continues can have long-term market implications.
Financial markets never like uncertainty. Although many things stemming from this devastating virus are unprecedented, investor behavior continues to follow historical patterns.
Investors everywhere are cognizant that 2019 was a wonderful year for the global financial markets. U.S. stocks led the advance from +25% to over +30%, depending on their market capitalization (company size). But how important is this, really?
The global economy continues to weaken, with some countries, such as Germany, on the brink of a recession. Less than ten percent of developed countries are now expanding. So why does the U.S. stock market continue to meander near all-time highs…
If past trends continue to prove indicative of future performance, the stock market can attain further sizable gains before the longest bull market in history ends. Contrary to this outlook, Duke University’s recent survey of CFOs across the U.S. reports that two-thirds believe a recession will begin in 2020…
April 10, 2019
Stocks and bonds seldom rise together. Fortunately, 2019 is proving to be an exception along with many other investment, economic, and political precedents in recent years. Global financial markets have fully recovered from their modest declines in 2018, leading the way to even further gains…
January 9, 2019
A great deal has changed since investors’ overenthusiasm drove stocks up 20% to 30% in most major financial markets in 2017. By contrast, in 2018 stocks rose nine months and fell three months, resulting in negative returns overall….
October 7, 2018
U.S. investors are increasingly optimistic about the future as they continue to pour more money into our stock market. The U.S. is one of only three global stock markets (along with India and Australia) making new highs recently. But can the U.S. remain an oasis during this global correction while China and many developed countries struggle for higher growth?
July 9, 2018
Investors are aware that the U.S. stock market’s upward momentum has temporarily ceased and is now in a sideways trading range. However, many were caught off guard by U.S. stocks continuing to outperform their foreign counterparts during the first half of 2018. Institutional and retail investors alike took profits in U.S. stocks earlier this year after last year’s stellar performance…
April 5, 2018
You may find surprising that the real news during first quarter 2018 was not the stock market back-tracking its year-to-date progress, the Federal Reserve raising interest rates for the 6th time, or even Trump’s introduction of trade tariffs; instead it was something else…