April 2019 Monthly Outlook – Wish Upon A Star

The first quarter of 2019 is in the books and fortunately for investors, a return to “normalcy” has occurred. Now “normalcy”, as used here, refers to the penchant for stocks to march deliberately higher and bond yields to stay stubbornly low. Last quarters brutal sell-off in equities is but a distant memory and Pollyanna has returned.

While I’m thrilled with the rebound in asset prices I’m not sure the markets aren’t wishing upon a star at this stage in the economic cycle.

On March 28, 2019 the final reading for 4th quarter 2018 US Gross Domestic Product was up 2.2%, with the growth for all of 2018 at 2.9%. Consumer and government spending were revised down in the report.  On March 26th, the Consumer Confidence Index declined from 131.4 in February to 124.1 in March.  The Expectations Index – based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business and labor market conditions – decreased from 103.8 in February to 99.8 in March. Just today, the Institute for Supply Management non-manufacturing index declined in March, to the lowest level since August 2017.  Clearly, the US economy is slowing. However, I believe we maintain growth at roughly 2% per year.

The global economy is also showing signs of slowing.  Much of this is, I believe, attributable to 2 big geo-political unknowns – the US/China trade negotiations and the United Kingdom leaving (or not) the European Union. These types of unknowns bring business investment in hiring, new equipment, and new product development to a halt. Getting these two issues resolved, hopefully in a positive fashion, will provide a boost to global growth. Alternatively, a breakdown in the US/China trade deal and/or a negative outcome in the UK would likely increase the odds of a global economic slowdown.

4.4.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_1

On the investment front,  I am most concerned about corporate earnings, which start reporting on April 14th.  Corporate earnings growth slowed dramatically in the 4th quarter of 2018, and could even turn negative for the 1st quarter of 2019.  While the stock market is aware of this, I’m not sure it has priced it correctly.  If 1st quarter earnings are better than expected then the market probably continues its upward bias.  If earnings are worse, then I expect the market to experience a selloff, albeit not as dramatic as what we saw at the end of last year.

4.4.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_2

Overall, I remain optimistic but cautious.  We have some tailwinds – low interest rates and inflation, a steady job market and slowly rising wages, but there are risks that are hard to quantify – political uncertainty and trade tensions.  We will continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly.

I hope you find this report helpful. Please feel free to share it.

We have added a new tool to help those nearing or just beginning retirement to explore their readiness for retirement.  It’s an easy interactive tool.  Please share it with family, friends and colleagues.

https://www.ready-2-retire.me/JimMcCarthy

 

 

April Calendar of Events   (comments and additions for future months are always welcome)

  • April  is National Autism Awareness month.  Let’s all get educated on this issue and works towards acceptance and inclusion of people dealing with autism.
  • April is also National Financial Capability month.  We at Directional Wealth Management commit to equipping individuals to lead better financial lives through an integrated framework of educational resources, collaborative tools,  and personal one-to-one advice.

 

April 10th                     Christian’s wife Maecy birthday

April 12 & 13th            We adopted our 4 legged children Coco (2010) and Buddy (2013)

April 15th                     Tax Day.  Remember to make those IRA or Roth contributions.

April 20th                     Passover begins – Chag Pesach Sameach

April 21st                     Easter Sunday – Have a blessed and Holy Easter

April 22nd                     Earth Day – let’s all recycle, turn out lights when we leave rooms, and do all we can for our environment

April 24th                     Administrative Professionals day – remember your staff

April 25th                     My daughter Satya’s birthday – wow she is turning 35!  I must be getting old 😊

 

 

Sources:  JPMorgan, Nottingham Advisors

Although information herein has been obtained from sources deemed reliable, its accuracy and completeness are not asserted. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the judgment of the financial advisor as of the dates indicated and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security.

Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or a loss. Diversification does not ensure a profit or ensure against a loss. There is no assurance that any investment strategy will be successful.  Past performance is no assurance of future results.

Please consider the charges, risks, expenses and investment objectives carefully before investing. Please see a prospectus containing this and other information. Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

Information provided should not be construed as legal or tax advice.  You should discuss any tax or legal matter with the appropriate professional.

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