Displaying items by tag: valuations
Low volatility stocks have been the hero of the volatility over the last year. In the past 12 months, the S&P 500 has returned 3.2%. That compares to a whopping 14% plus for low volatility stocks, such as in the S&P 500 low-vol index. By definition, low volatility stocks are boring (think utilities, insurance, and REITs) and have stable earnings. That works well for defending against market swings, but the protection means that valuations are WAY above their long-term average (three standard deviations above). That said, falling rates are very helpful to this class of stocks, so there is wind at their backs.
FINSUM: Despite quite high valuations, we think low vol stocks will continue to do well so long as the trade war continues to plague markets.
The market is in the worst shape it has been for some time, maybe the worst condition of the year. The S&P 500 fell over 3% last week on the combined news of a less dovish Fed and a huge tariff increase on China. Where things go from here is very uncertain, but JP Morgan is arguing that you should buy the dip. The bank’s strategists summarize their view this way, saying “Our core view remains that one should use the prospective weakness as an opportunity to add further, similar to the May experience. We continue to believe that global equities will advance further before the next U.S. recession strikes. We think that the growth-policy trade-off is far better now than it was in 2018”.
FINSUM: The market, economy, and politics are at quite a confusing point right now. Either things will gel to send prices higher, or it will all come crashing down like it did last year. Anyone’s guess.
Not a day after warning about the unstable financial practices of S&P 500 companies, Goldman Sachs has just gone on the record saying that the S&P 500 is set for another round of big gains. The bank raised its year-end forecast for the index to 3,100. Goldman thinks that stocks are currently trading at fair valuations, and that “The dovish Fed pivot has driven the equity market rally in 2019, and we expect low interest rates will continue to support above-average valuations going forward”. The bank contends stocks will rise a further 10% in 2020.
FINSUM: We think stocks are going to move in line with the economy. If growth stays okay, and the Fed stays dovish, we are in for a move higher. We think the best odds are for a bull case.
One of the behaviors that we like to follow to see the underlying health of markets is whether investors are “buying the dip”. Such behavior tends to indicate a fundamental belief in the direction of the market. Therefore, the recent drop off in investors doing so is worrying, but not for the reason that seems obvious. The lack of buy the dip is because until this week, the market had rarely fallen this year. That has meant buying behavior has been concentrated in the hands of bulls not afraid the buy into a rich market, which left many discount-seekers looking from the outside in. Now, many top analysts, and likely investors alongside them, have turned bearish.
FINSUM: The velocity of the market’s gains this year has been very impressive, but it naturally makes a lot of people worry it could come down just as fast.
Stocks are once again nearing all-time highs, which is understandably making investors nervous about a repeat of the fourth quarter occurring. While that fear is healthy, the reality is that the underlying conditions of the market are a world different now. Not only are valuations lower, but the economy is looking robust, and perhaps most importantly of all, the Fed has let off the gas pedal with hikes, which puts recession risk much lower. All of these factors seem to conspire to make a perfect environment for stock price appreciation.
FINSUM: Anyone who reads FINSUM knows we lean towards bearish news, but the truth is that our better judgment is telling us that now is probably a time to be optimistic, as the trifecta of reasonable valuations, a solid/strong economy, and a dovish Fed, are in place.