Eq: Total Market

(New York)

There was a beautiful four-month window between December 2018 and May 2019 when everything looked positive. The trade spat with China looked increasingly mild and economic data was strong. It was a mirage. Even the hefty 3.2% GDP growth figure was mostly because of an incredible buildup in inventories, which when stripped away leave growth at 1.5%. Further, revised data shows that industrial production has dropped 1.2% since December. Even though this counts for a small portion of the economy, it is highly indicative of the business cycle. Some areas like auto production and machinery are down much more at 5%.


FINSUM: The glorious rally of the first third of the year seems to have stalled and the bad news is piling up, with the trade war exacerbating everything.

(New York)

Whenever serious volatility strikes, investors get very nervous and don’t know how to react. One of the big questions is should I stay in the market? The other is which assets should I buy? Surprisingly, there is a fairly simple solution to handle volatility: every time the market moves wildly, hedge your portfolio with cash and/or options. When the markets calm down, unwind the hedge. Returns on stocks have actually been historically strongest during periods of low volatility (not the opposite).


FINSUM: The most interesting aspect here is that studies show that market returns have been highest in low volatility periods. Many people think that you have to stay in the market during volatile periods to make great returns, but that is simply not the case.

(New York)

The trade war has far reaching consequences. One way to think about it, as bleak as it sounds, is that there is no winner whatsoever. However, there are sectors, ETFs, and stocks that will likely lose more than others. The technology, materials, and industrial sectors stand to lose the most in a prolonged trade war as they have the largest proportion of manufacturing in China and the highest proportion of Chinese customers. Boeing and Ingersoll-Rand, for instance, are both very exposed to China. However, the greatest pain is likely to be felt by technology companies in the iShares PHLX Semiconductor ETF like Qualcomm, Micron Technology, Broadcom, and Texas Instruments.


FINSUM: Basically anyone making or selling a large amount of products in China is in trouble. We also wonder about how increased tariffs would flow through to retailers who source a high percentage of their products in China (e.g. Walmart, Target etc.).

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