Eq: Total Market

(New York)

Stock markets have been taking a beating lately. Between worries over trade and rising rates, as well as the fading effects of tax cuts and the prospects of weaker earnings, stocks have been getting hammered. Now there could be another material blow coming: corporate deleveraging. For years, companies have gorged on debt to fund buybacks and dividends. However, as rates a rising, they are now under pressure to deleverage, and there will be increasing plans for paying down debt. All of that means companies will be spending less in equity markets and on growth.

FINSUM: This is bad news. Stock buybacks have been one of the main drivers of returns the last few years, and the evaporation of that stimulus will add pressure.

(New York)

Christmas is not looking very merry for retailers. While 2018 has been kind to retailers, especially compared to 2017, the fourth quarter has been rough. The stocks have been getting hammered on the back of weak guidance from a handful of companies in the sector. Not only are retailers under topline pressure from ecommerce, but costs are rising too, squeezing margins. As an example, Target’s shares fell 9% on Tuesday and the shares are down by more almost 20% since August.

FINSUM: This selling pressure seems to be a combination of economic worry and fears about rising costs.

(New York)

Here is a big warning. Goldman Sachs says that with bonds and stocks falling, and the outlook remaining poor, cash will be king. The bank thinks that stocks will only rise by single digits in 2019. In the words of Goldman analysts, led by David Kostin, the chief of Goldman’s research arm, “We forecast S&P 500 will generate a modest single-digit absolute return in 2019. The risk-adjusted return will be less than half the long-term average. Cash will represent a competitive asset class to stocks for the first time in many years”.

FINSUM: Goldman basically think T-bills are a great buy right now and we have a hard time disagreeing. The yields on short-term holdings are very favorable and quite rate insensitive.

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