Well after losing ground in 10 of its 11 last weeks, the S&P 500 showed some life with a strong positive move last week.
A ship in port will not catch fish, but it also won't sink during stormy seas. You have probably noticed that the recent market movements have been among the most violent ever recorded. The last two weeks have seen some epic swells that even broadsided the leading groups, like the Energy sector. This is what bear markets do. They roll through and hit everything.
May's CPI was a big surprise. This is not a market that wants surprises. The trust in the Fed and Captain Powell to land Air America took a big hit on Friday. Dreams of a September pause in rate hikes have now been replaced by five 50 basis point rate increases for each meeting left in 2022.
After firing up the financial markets two weeks ago at the J.P. Morgan analyst meeting, our favorite tennis playing NYC weatherman Jamie "Stormy" Dimon talked about hurricanes at the Bernstein conference. The markets were less than amused and caught playing deep off the baseline given the breakout in energy prices and the increasing hawkish comments out of FOMC members.
I grew up with either a bb or pellet gun in my hands and learned to enjoy shooting real guns as I got older. But in no society would I believe that mentally troubled teenagers or adults should have access to any deadly weapons. There are solutions in our modern information driven world to permit weapons into the hands of rightful people.
This month millions of kids will graduate from college and high school. For all of them, it was a diploma well-earned due to the pandemic interruption for more than half of their education.
As investors continue in their risk avoidance, assets seem to be for sale almost everywhere. Sure a bounce like the one on Friday will make everyone feel good for a day, but as soon as the joy is gone, we return to earnings misses met with collapsed stock prices, lowered price targets caused by multiple compression on stocks that beat earnings, and continued lowering of global GDP targets because of China/Ukraine/Russia/Inflation/Interest Rates/Growth pulled forward during COVID/etc.
With massive volatility continuing across all financial market assets and significant selling volumes outpacing significant buying ones, now is a time for equity investors to play defense.
I didn't plan on writing a WRB this weekend due to some travel and family obligations but given the market's move last week, I felt it was important to convey some thoughts.
For two months, bond investors have felt nothing but pain as interest rates have surged higher. But last week, it was equity investors who entered the theater of pain as worries about global growth took center stage.
With earnings season now upon us, last week's early reports have given us a small read into what the rest of the corporate reports might have in store. The biggest banks remain a bit cautious with inflation, interest rate and global macro uncertainties, while also seeing solid loan growth, current credit trends and healthy customer balance sheets.
This is a most busy week of data for the markets. CPI and PPI for inflation. March Retail Sales and Industrial Production. UofM Consumer Sentiment. The kick-off to first quarter corporate earnings.
Now, that was a first quarter for the record books. War. Inflation. First fed funds increase. Final act of U.S. COVID. Seven million JOLTS. Inverting yield curves.
We expected a volatile year in the markets with the post-COVID economic surge sparring with a FOMC going on an interest rate hike parade.
Russia needs an out. The takeover of Ukraine did not go according to plan. The entire world has risen to oppose the invaders.
If only '60 Minutes' had been broadcast into Moscow on Sunday night, this Russian invasion might be over today. It was heartbreaking to see the trains full of mothers and children rolling into Poland.
There will likely be more surprises in the days and weeks ahead. Let's hope that this entire situation de-escalates, and everyone returns home safely. The world does not want this conflict.
The market's attention quickly turned over the weekend towards Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Nothing like a major geo-political event to push COVID-19 and the Federal Reserve to the back burners.
The year to date moves in inflation expectations and interest rates have been incredible. This was due to occur given that a generation of current investors have never witnessed broad inflation, while many others just wanted to believe that the low cost of capital, increased productivity and the ability to create supply at will would keep inflation low forever.
If one was going to write a script for the Fed to raise rates by 50 basis points at the upcoming March meeting, last week's jobs, inflation, and economic data would have provided the perfect opening act.
Jerome Powell and the Fed had two paths to choose from last Wednesday as they began their journey to fight inflation in the U.S.
If the equity markets were oversold on Friday, then was Monday's 1,000 point decline and reversal in the Dow Jones Industrials the flush? Uncertain earnings reports, rising tensions in the Ukraine and crashing crypto prices gave investors another reason to hit the sell button on Monday. The S&P 500 VIX (volatility index) launched over 30, neared 40 and returned to below 30 before the day was over.
While the total equity markets continue to bounce around the zero line this year, some trend lines are moving in their constant direction. Most notably, interest rates remain headed higher.
The flowers will be blooming, basketballs will be bouncing, and the U.S. Federal Funds rate will be rising. Given last week's surprisingly strong job and wage data combined with the surprise increased 'hawkishness' in the December FOMC minutes, it is now 'go time' for the Fed.
Happy New Year. So, who didn't get COVID over the break? If you didn't get it directly, I am guessing that it impacted one of your flights, entertainment activities or dining experiences.
Here comes the final stretch of 2021. After the December U.S. Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting happens this week, it will become a ghost town in the financial markets.
What's all the fuss? The market was down only 1% last week and ended down 4% from its all-time high.
Without knowing all the new Omicron COVID data on Friday, the thin, post-U.S. holiday trading markets elected to sell first and ask questions later.
Thankfulness comes a few days early for Fed Chairman Powell as Biden gives him another term. Lael Brainard will become the Vice Chair.
Those of us who live in Denver spent the weekend watering our trees and yards, which is highly unusual for the middle of November.
My lengthy pen was clipped this weekend by an unforeseen event, but while the content may be less in volume, it is equally important. Especially with regard to some of the private market information and stories that I came across below.
It doesn't matter if this goofball tax plan is aimed at billionaires, millionaires, or little green men, but if Congress is now grasping for handholds, then the super-sized stimulus plan is dead.
As we reflect on the first week of third quarter earnings, the results came in strong as expected. The many conference calls and commentary gave us plenty to chew on for our future models and valuation updates.
The snowflakes will begin to drop this week here in Colorado along with the start to the Q3 earnings season.
Not to be outdone by Netflix, Congress has elected to begin their own “Squid Game” involving the U.S. debt ceiling, the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the reconciliation spending bill.
It's finally Bond Week in the U.K. With 90% of Petrol stations reporting gasoline outages this weekend, we can already guess what 007 will be hunting for in 'No Time to Die'... Petrol Truck Drivers!
The slow-motion car wreck named Evergrande is now inches from hitting its destined tree. With interest due on its bonds and to lenders this week, there is no more running.
Plenty of movement going on this September. Not only are the ducks headed north, but also students in the U.S. have returned to school, (some) employees are moving back to the office, many corporations are tapping the bond and stock markets, and most football fans are wading back into their stadiums.
The seasonal clock for the U.S. Rocky Mountains is a bit ahead of schedule this year as a drier summer has moved our mountain aspen trees to turn a bit earlier than usual. The northern Colorado aspen are turning now and if you travel out before the first week of October, you should be able to catch some peak days.
As the summer of 2021 draws to its close, we get one final slow week in the markets to relax and enjoy that last bit of fun in the sun.
As expected, COVID cases rose sharply over the past two weeks. And if history is any guide, COVID cases should decline significantly as we enter September. This is what we learned and prepared for over a year ago when we studied the ebb and flow of COVID spread.
That jobs number was smoking on Friday. And it showed that people are getting back to work despite the rising virus wave. With revisions, July's non-farm payrolls added more than a million jobs, while the unemployment rate fell to 5.4% from 5.9%.
However, it is looking increasingly likely that one will need both a vaccine card and a mask to join others indoors for a great night out. Both Broadway and the top NYC restaurants have moved toward requirements for both for the upcoming months.
And plastic totes, as well as stacks of monitors and miles of copper and fiber cables. Not to be outdone by our Conshohocken headquarters, the Denver office also moved this weekend to improve our footprint and to take advantage of the post-COVID lease rates.
Surfing became an official Olympic sporting event this year. If you have ever surfed, you know the demands of the sport and are right to wonder why it took so long to make it to the big show. Could there even be a more international sport for all nations that touch an ocean?
I hope so. Looks like a great way to escape. And according to market volumes, news flow and TSA data, many of you might be toes up in the water right now. If so, enjoy the water for me.
If we are raising flags for the upcoming 4th of July celebration this week, then that must mean we are also halfway through 2021. The year has gone super-fast with vaccinations, a return to normal life and good market returns helping to quickly pass the weeks. What a difference a year of incredible scientific advances have done for all of us.
The market didn't see that coming. "Price stability is half of our mandate" led Wednesday's playlist as Jerome Powell and the Fed took the stage to a sold-out crowd of market participants. Unfortunately, the equity longs and curve steepeners were positioned to dance to Prince's "When Doves Cry."
Inflation watching has become the newest, favorite pastime of the markets, the press, and the politicians. And it should be important because inflation is a hidden tax against our earnings and savings.
An appropriate movie line for a current look at the movie theater industry. This is an easy look because we have some direct comps and mergers and acquisitions have run through the movie theater industry forever. I put pen to paper because I was interested.
Our most deserved summer ever officially starts this weekend. I am guessing that many of you will be heading out to set up your permanent summer residences for the day that your kids start screaming Alice Cooper lyrics. Trading volumes will begin to evaporate quickly mid-week and may not return until September with the occasional spurt of activity around employment and inflation releases and a bit during the July earnings reporting season.
Yellow would be my blended portfolio risk advice these days. While there are some areas of the financial market to remain invested into, increasingly, there are more areas to dial back on or avoid completely. Read more in our weekly market commentary.
Even Metallica sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks at 78 rpm. Sometimes the talking heads on Financial TV sound like Alvin trying to get every word in to explain how their growth stocks can justify current valuations. But it doesn't matter how fast they talk and how many points they make, the market doesn't want to own growth stocks right now. It wants to own businesses where earnings growth is accelerating and where inflation protection might exist.
So where to go? Maybe start with the I's: Italy, Ireland, and Iceland? As announced on Friday, the E.U. is now opening this summer to U.S. tourists. So, grab a roller bag and your proof of vaccination because it is time to hit the skies. I would expect the U.K. to follow very soon in allowing U.S. visitors so that they can fill Heathrow and Gatwick airports and grab some the U.S. tourist dollars gushing like Trevi Fountain.
"I’m haunted by my 2020 capital-gains tax."(WSJ) Could there be a more epic quote for the current state of the financial markets? I could not stop thinking about this quote all weekend. I wish that I could time machine this trader back to 2008 or 2000 and have him experience an 80-90% drawdown in a world-leading company. We are so past closing time for this speculative merry-go-round. But as we all know, the ride can last longer, and the quotes can get more outrageous so keep the tapes rolling.