Displaying items by tag: bear market
In what was one of the most emotional and scary markets-oriented interviews possibly ever, famed hedge fund manager Bill Ackman gave some very stern warnings to America yesterday. Ackman favors a complete shutdown of the US economy for 30 days, instead of a gradual rollout of measures. “America will end as we know it. I’m sorry to say so, unless we take this option”, he argues. He continued “Capitalism does not work in an 18-month shutdown, capitalism can work in a 30-day shutdown”. He further warned companies to stop buybacks because “hell is coming”.
FINSUM: Whatever you may feel about the health threat of the virus itself, the economic situation with the coronavirus has escalated so quickly that it is hard to know what forecasts are outlandish and which need to be taken seriously. What we do know is that there is no end in sight to the contain measures (and thus the economic damage), which means there is going to be a huge wave of unpaid bills by consumers and a resulting financial crunch for many companies.
Goldman Sachs has put out some very concerning forecasts this morning. The bank thinks US GDP is going to shrink massively in Q2, down 5%. Goldman also thinks the S&P 500 won’t find a floor until it hits 2,000, another ~25% below current levels. The bank also believes 50% of Americans will contract the virus and that “peak virus” will occur within 8 weeks. Despite the gloomy predictions, the bank contends the markets will recover quickly in the second half of the year, with the S&P 500 rising back to 3,200.
FINSUM: This seems like a realistically bearish call on what is happening, with a very bullish medium-term outlook. Our gut instinct is that this seems a good prediction.
All the market focus has been on the Dow, but small caps beat the bigger index into a bear market. Even before the big falls of the last few days, the Russell was down 25%. Small companies account for about half of US economic activity and tend to feel the strongest effects when the economy falls, explaining the sharp decline. However, small caps also tend to outperform in the three months after such falls, as they also disproportionately benefit from an economic recovery.
FINSUM: Small caps were trading at all time highs right before this plunge, and as this situation begins to clear, it seems like a very good buying opportunity.
Generally speaking, when oil prices fall it is considered good for the economy as it unleashes excess consumer spending. This is what happened in the last big drop in 2014-2015. However, this time around, there are likely to be no winners from the drop. Because the huge fall in prices is coming at a time of significantly reduced economic demand because of the coronavirus, it is hard to imagine that much excess economic activity will be created to account for the drop in oil-related industries.
FINSUM: Supply and demand are tumbling simultaneously across the economy (not just in oil), so it does not seem this will be a net positive like it has been in the past.
The market is in a brutal position, everyone knows that. Peak losses hit 19% yesterday, just a hair off a bear market. The reality, though, is that some sectors are thoroughly in a bear market, including the biggest growth driver of them all—tech. The S&P info tech sector is down 20%, while Microsoft is down 20% and Apple 19%. Amazon and Facebook are both down 17%. IBM, Cisco, and older-guard tech companies are getting slaughtered down to the 25%+ range.
FINSUM: Some of these are smart to stay away from, but others could be good buying opportunities. For instance, social media companies are more exposed to consumer spending declines (and resultant advertising declines) that B2B tech companies offering cloud and other software infrastructure that is hard to cut from budgets.