Barron’s has published a very curious article. The piece takes a look at the market and spends a great deal of time showing how the current stock market is both technically and fundamentally sound. The economy is good, market momentum is strong, the rally has good breadth—the whole nine yards. Yet, its overall tone is that investors need to be worried, and prepare themselves for the inevitable downturn. One way to prepare would be to cut out the weakest stocks in your portfolio (likely all with gains, but less than others) as these are likely to fall harder than the best performing stocks. Additionally, consider cashing in some chips, and also, importantly, defining clearly when you will pull out, whether it is when a trend line is broken or at a 10% loss etc.
FINSUM: This market is very rich, but also incredibly hard to time (as always). However, there could still be a lot of gains before a correction arrives.
PIMCO says there is one really big thing to fear in markets above all else—the lack of fear. The current “melt up” is symptomatic of extreme investor confidence, and that is cause for grave concern, says PIMCO, one of the world’s largest money managers. According to PIMCO, “The fact that the fear is gone is the main reason why we should be worried”, continuing “That means most investors are now pretty fully invested and that means they will want to get out if the markets start to correct -- exacerbating the downdraft”.
FINSUM: We think PIMCO has a great point. The market’s start to this year is pretty insane—it is on track to triple in value in 2018. Is this the final run before a big downturn?
The market will inevitably be shocked by some big news this year. Trying to forecast such news always seems like a futile exercise, but Barron’s has gone out on a limb and tried to select what will rock markets in 2018. There a three big calls being made. The first is a US government shutdown on the back of political in-fighting. That might cause a dip, but not a lasting one. The other two could be different. For instance, a looming trade war with China or other major trading partners could cause serious market issues. Additionally, there may be indictments of Trump’s closest family members, including Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, according to Barron’s.
FINSUM: Indictments of Trump’s family would rock Washington and the national psyche to its core. But it is hard to say that it would have a lasting effect on markets other than to create political uncertainty.
Okay we have a major call to make today, and it could go well, or it could get ugly for us. Our contention is that despite fears of jumping inflation and growth, we believe rates and yields are going to rise only slowly. New Fed commentary shows that the central bank does not expect the new tax policy to significantly affect growth, which makes us feel they will lean towards dovishness. Additionally, with inflation remaining subdued, we think they won’t be under a great deal of pressure to hike. Finally, on the yields front, we expect that retiree demand for fixed income will keep a lid on yields. As proof, just look at how stock funds have seen three years of outflows, while bond funds have risen for over a year straight.