Eq: Total Market


The Fed made some highly anticipated policy adjustments at the end of last week. This was not about short-term rate moves either, but rather about its long-term role in the recovery and how it plans to manage the economy. The biggest change seems rather small in wording. The Fed basically corrected its mandate to say that it would not automatically tighten policy just because employment had reached or exceeded what it consider to be “full employment”. In effect, this means that the Fed is ready, willing, able to let the economy run very hot for many years. Analysts think the Fed will likely not hike again until at least 2024.

FINSUM: So the Fed is going to be very accommodative for the next several years. It is starting to feel like equity valuations are going to have no choice but to rise as the Fed has taken “there is no alternative” to a never-before seen level for equities.

(New York)

The wild market over the last four months has caused a lot of elation and anxiety among investors. It has also caused a rethink of what kind of recovery we may be experiencing. Almost everyone thought we would have a V- or U-shaped recovery, but the way things are shaking out, it looks like we may have a “k-shaped” recovery. What this means is that almost all companies took a big dive at the start of the pandemic. However, after that point the fortunes of certain sectors have diverged markedly, forming a “k” shape to the market recovery. IT, consumer discretionary, and communication services have been the big winners, while energy, financials, utilities, and real estate have suffered.

FINSUM: So the interesting question here is the degree to which the market recovery might end up mirroring the economy’s recovery. So far the patterns make sense.

(New York)

You know the saying “a rising tide lifts all boats”? It couldn’t be further from the truth as it concerns the current stock market. The S&P 500 is just about flat, yet if you take a close look, 337 of its component stocks are down. The index is only being held up by a 1% gain from Apple and minor gains from the other 4 stocks that comprise 20% of its entire value. The lack of breadth has been a consistent feature of the recovery over the last several months.

FINSUM: Investors are not expressing any degree of bullishness about the economy, which would be reflected in breadth. Frankly, all the recent gains seem to be simple momentum bets on a small handful of stocks, making the whole recovery feel hollow.

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