Equity investors may be understandably frustrated and anxious at the moment. The rebound after February’s lows has not held up and stocks are right around their bottom for the year. Well, if history is any guide, the pain will likely last 200 days. That is the average length that a correction has lasted during this bull market, and this is the sixth of its kind since 2009. The longest was 417 days between 2015 to 2016. The market is already 60 days into the correction, so if the forecast holds, it would emerge in August.
FINSUM: This would only provide comfort if one thinks the current correction is merely that, and not a full blown bear market.
Well the stock market finally stabilized yesterday with a solid rally (who knows where it will end up today), which may let many breathe a sigh of relief. However, one of the most prominent names in investing, in his typically unemotional way, says that stocks are currently very dangerous as they look like the definition of a bubble. Investors are still buying the market even though they think it is overpriced, saying Schiller. According to him, “that's almost the definition of a bubble. If you think it's overpriced but think it still has time to go, that's the definition of a bubble”.
FINSUM: So our view is that there is still a good deal to be positive about, but that if you really think we are in for a correction, then what just transpired was not nearly enough to “correct” the market.
The market fell another 4% yesterday, pushing all the major indices into a correction, meaning a 10% drop or more. However, the reality is that this really isn’t much of a correction, at least yet. Looking at a number of the most common valuation metrics, such as P/E, CAPE, dividend yields etc, stocks are still very expensive. Even considering this fall, they are still up 19% over the last year. That means it would take much a more substantial fall to push them into the territory where they could be a buy on a “value” basis.
FINSUM: A few thoughts here. Firstly, stocks are only a buy right now if you think the market is taking a break before heading higher. Well, that is our view. The market is all concerned that growth is too good, which through some mechanisms (like the Fed) will lead to a recession. In early 2016 (the last time a correction happened), the market was worried about a dismal economy. That time the fears were wrong, and we think they will be this time too. This has been a middle of the road recovery for almost a decade, and we think it will revert to that mean, avoiding investors’ worst nightmare—growth! (as if that is such a nightmare).
Well it is now official, or as official as it can be considering “correction” is a generic term. However, a drop of 10% is widely considered to be a “correction”, and that is the threshold we just crossed after yesterday’s huge losses. Stocks dropped deeply again yesterday, with the Dow falling over 1,000 points, or over 4%, and the S&P 500 nearly that far. Markets fell after positive unemployment claims data fueled fears that the economy is too good, which would lead to a tightening Fed and bring about a recession.
FINSUM: It is quite odd that the markets are afraid the economy is too good. We recognize how a hot economy brings about issues, but we just don’t think we are there yet.
Advisors all over the country got a lot of worried phone calls yesterday. Clients are understandably anxious about the mammoth losses over the last week, all punctuated by an almost 5% fall in the Dow yesterday. One advisor from LA says that “We’re reminding them that we knew this was going to happen and that we’ve been planning for it”. Other advisors are reminding their clients that the economy looks strong and that we are not headed into a recession. One Wells Fargo advisor makes a note that looks negative for stocks, saying “A 10-year Treasury yield above 3% would be reasonable competition for equities, and I would be able to replace fixed income maturities with higher yields for the first time in a decade”.
FINSUM: We think this a healthy correction, but that the market will likely continue to move higher. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the economy, and once the market realizes that higher rates won’t kill stocks, things will get back to normal. However, this maelstrom is a very healthy recognition of risk.