Eq: Total Market
So where is the market headed next? That is the question on every investor’s mind. Guggenheim Partners’ CIO has just made a bold call. His answer—much higher. He argues that stocks are strong and increasingly cheap, which will spark a rally. “Stocks are cheap based on forward multiples and should rally by 15%-20% from here unless policy uncertainty around China and tariffs remains in place”. He continued, saying “I think we’re going through a classic seasonal adjustment”, but that it is paving the way for a move higher.
FINSUM: We think that once the panic passes, which it may have this weekend, investors will realize that stocks are less expensive than before Trump was elected and the economy is going strongly.
Many might not think of it this way, but automotive stocks are good leading indicators of the economy. Between the top car companies and auto parts suppliers, the car business creates a little shy of $3 tn in sales per year. But the market is not well at the moment. Big car company shares are down 13% this year, while suppliers have fallen 24% (not one of the top 25 has risen). Interestingly, though, vehicle sales have not fallen yet and are still strong, as they often are when unemployment is falling and consumer confidence is high. The trouble may be in China, where sales are weakening, but the key point is that there is a lot of pessimism on auto shares.
FINSUM: It is important to remember that aside from the economic factors, car companies are under a disruptive threat from technology (e.g. self-driving cars and Silicon Valley), which may be contributing to the poor performance.
Yesterday’s relief rally has already turned sour. Earnings out of Amazon and Google greatly disappointed the market and shot the Nasdaq down as far as 3% in premarket trading. However, despite all the trouble, Wells Fargo says it is the best time to buy stocks since before Trump’s presidency. According to the head of the Wells Fargo Investment Institute, “We believe that this isn’t the end of the cycle or the bull market, and we favor deploying cash now—or even allocating incrementally over the coming days and weeks”, continuing “Current conditions have the potential to create some of the best entry points into equity markets since the November 2016 elections”. That said, Wells Fargo acknowledges that we are at the end of the “easy period” of low volatility and an accommodative Fed.
FINSUM: It is anybody’s guess as to whether this view is right, but we reluctantly tend to agree that stocks are probably going to recover from this bout of volatility sooner rather than later.
For the most part, President Trump has been seen as quite positive for markets. The big rally in his first year cemented that idea, and for most of this year, stocks were in good shape. However, here is an interesting fact—equity valuations are now lower than when he took office. As the media puts it, “the Trump Bump is turning into the Trump discount”.
FINSUM: Two thoughts occur here. The first is that a big reason why valuations have fallen is because earnings are so good, and a lot of that has to do with the Republican-led tax package, so it is not fair to turn that into a negative. Secondly, most of the market trouble stems from the trade war, so it is more an isolated case of policy than a broad effect. In fact, what could be better than good share appreciation without a rise in valuations? It is exactly what you are looking for as an investor—something that earns well but doesn’t look increasingly overpriced.
Markets are currently experiencing a great deal of volatility. The Nasdaq is in a correction and the Dow and S&P 500 have shed all their gains for the year. One of the big reasons why is investors’ fear of rising rates. With that in mind, many are hoping the central bank will save markets via the so-called “Fed put”, or the idea that if things get bad enough, the Fed will come in as a backstop with some sort of measure to boost asset prices. However, the truth is that Wall Street says we are not nearly deep enough into a correction/bear market for the Fed to take any sort of accommodative action.
FINSUM: Powell is much more hawkish than Yellen or Bernanke and we have no illusions that there is going to be any sort of supportive measure in the near term. We expect hikes to continue.
Yesterday was a full-on panic in markets. Shares plunged across the board from a broad mix of worries about rates, earnings, the economy, and trade war. The Nasdaq was hit hardest, falling 4.4% into correction territory. Losses in the Dow and S&P 500 were enough to eliminate all gains for the year. Earnings have continued to be strong, but it has not helped support stocks much, if at all. The S&P 500 is now 9.4% off its 52-week high.
FINSUM: Our own view on stocks is that this will be a temporary hiccup and equities will steady themselves soon. Given that earnings growth is strong and the economy is still very healthy, it is hard to imagine a bear market starting.