Do you remember those glory years between the taper tantrum and the end of 2017? The time when inflation was low, but not totally weak, growth was solid but not great, and the Fed decided to do nothing and say little? That was the time when the market surged. Well, those days may be here again as the economic signals right now, and the Fed’s language, are starting to look like they are returning to the post-Crisis “new normal” of moderate growth and inflation, but not enough to bring on a policy response.
FINSUM: Our own view is that we are not headed for recession, but rather a return to the pre-tax cut rate of growth and inflation. This is a solid setup for markets as it produces a dependable environment and a good atmosphere for corporate earnings growth.
It has been a long time since value stocks had a chance to shine. A LONG time. Growth stocks have handily outperformed their growth cousins, so much so that even some diehard value investors have talked about giving up on the practice. Value stocks took a pounding in March following the Fed’s dovish turn and spreads versus the market’s most expensive stocks are at their widest in 70 years. This means it may be a good time to buy, says Bernstein’s equity research team. If you look away from financial value stocks, the sector did not actually get wounded much last month. The reason why it may be time to buy is two-part: the first is that value stocks tend to outperform when the economy is slowing, but not in outright recession. The second is that high value stock spreads are seen all across the economy, and not just in challenged sectors, which means they are less likely indicative of real challenges and are more likely just a market symptom.
FINSUM: We understand this analysis, but have to disagree. We just don’t think the old precedents for value stocks hold much water at the point. Our view is that as growth slows, investors will buy the stocks with the most growth, not the cheapest ones.
Headline fourth quarter growth got downgraded this week to just 2.2% (from 2.6%). That may not seem like a devastating fall, but if you take a closer look at the figures, they are worse than at first glance. In particular, it becomes clear that growth was actually weakening all throughout 2018 (versus 2017). While the fourth quarter especially showed weakness, it was really only two one-time quirks that kept growth as high as it was for the year: increased military spending and higher spending by non-profits. Neither of those factors are very tied to the underlying economy and consumers.
FINSUM: This is pretty eye-opening and does sap our confidence a bit. Consumer spending also barely rose in January, which is another negative sign.
We thought our readers might like to see some high conviction stock buys from top ranking sell-side analysts. All of the following seven picks are rated a “strong buy” by top ranked analysts and have price targets 20% or more above the current price. The picks come from a wide variety of sectors and include: Turtle Beach (HEAR), Alibaba (BABA), Cigna Corp (CI), Marathon Petroleum (MPC), Amarin Corp (AMRN), and Teladoc Health (TDOC).
FINSUM: These are diverse picks both in terms of geography and sector. Amarin and Alibaba are the most interesting for us. The former because of buyout rumors by Pfizer, and the latter because of its strong growth characteristics.
Top Wall Street analysts have just published updated outlooks on the best growth stocks. This piece looks at top ranked analyst recommendations. The top 5 growth stocks for this year are: cloud communications platform Twilio, athletics apparel retailer Lululemon, cloud stock MongoDB, Amazon, and healthcare stock Sarepta Therapeutics.
FINSUM: The big question in growth stocks is whether they will continue to outperform value, as they have for several years. We think the trend is your friend here.