JP Morgan is joining the bullish bandwagon. While fear that the rally has been too fast permeates across the markets, JP Morgan is stepping in to say that they think the market has plenty of runway higher. The bank thinks stocks have a good tailwind behind them as a trio of positive factors exist: a dovish fed, a stable yield curve, and pending US-China trade deal. The bank thinks that stocks look like they did right after the 2015-2016 correction cycle, a period right before a big bull run.
FINSUM: We are starting to think that shares may have some good runway left. The correction in P/E ratios was a very healthy adjustment to end the year, and the macro situation is looking positive.
Once you admit that this 2019 rally is almost purely predicated on the Fed dramatically turning around its position on rates and the economy late last year, you come to a realization: it could all end so quickly. The market is very vulnerable to the Fed’s actions right now, so the question becomes—will the central bank turn hawkish? The short answer is that it doesn’t look like the Fed will get hawkish any time soon. New language released in the latest notes look even more dovish than in December. The key buzzword is that the Fed is looking to be “patient” on rates and says it would need clear upward signs in the economy to hike any further.
FINSUM: The Fed has set up another goldilocks situation for markets. So long as data is okay but not too good, asset prices will be fine. If some data comes out poorly, the market knows the Fed can cut rates. Are we in for another big bull run?
Stock investors may have largely moved on from day to day concerns about a pending recession, but important parts of the bond market are still signaling a downturn is coming. For instance, the 1 to 5-year spread in Treasuries inverted at then end of December, and despite the Fed making a big policy u-turn, has remained inverted ever since. The spread is currently minus 7 basis points. It is important to remember that the entire yield curve does not invert at once, it happens in stages, and this particular measure has proven to be a good recession indicator in the past.
FINSUM: It is alarming to us that this remains inverted despite the drastic change at the Fed. From here forward we expect the curve to be very data dependent, as if economic data is worsening, we expect more and more of it to invert.
Another month, anther patch of really rough data on the US real estate market. New data from December has just been released, and shows a clearly negative trend for the market. Housing starts dropped 11.2% in the month, and overall, the market saw the worst price growth (4.7% in major metropolitan areas) since 2014. Stock market turbulence and higher rates plagued the market at the end of 2018.
FINSUM: We have seen many months of deteriorating real estate performance. The big question now is whether the market can rebound in time for the peak spring selling season.
Stocks are off to a very strong start this year, but it is hard to remember a time that they looked so vulnerable. Investors may be happy with the 10%+ gains in the S&P 500, but the reality is that stocks could nosedive at any moment. In a sign of how grave the risk is, we challenge you to ask yourself—what is a risk that could make stocks plunge 10% in a day? We are willing to bet 90% of you said “the Fed suddenly restarting hikes”. The core of this rally has largely been predicated on the Fed suddenly reversing course, letting investors breathe a sigh of relief that the central bank won’t hike the economy into recession.
FINSUM: The truth is that the Fed could reverse its position at any moment, which would probably cause a big downturn in markets. That said, we don’t think they will do anything so drastic.