November 2019 Monthly Outlook – Fool Me Once ….. Won’t Get Fooled Again!

The equity markets ended October and have begun November on a high note.  This is mostly due to positive comments about a  US/China trade deal.  While I am hopeful that a deal can be struck, I will reserve judgement until ink is on paper.  Recall there was talk of a trade deal back in March 2019.  The equity markets rallied to a new all-time high in April, only to fall almost 7% in May after the trade talks broke down and both US and China imposed additional tariffs.   There was more “happy” talk about a deal in July, leading the stock market to rally to a new, even higher all-time high only to – you guessed it- have the talks break down and the market fall roughly 6.2% into August.  The recent talk of a “phase-one” deal has fueled the market to again climb to new all-time highs.  Perhaps the 3rd time is a charm, but I remain leery that we have a repeat of the two earlier setbacks in the talks.  Our administration is extremely unpredictable and China has also shown to be playing games.

In other news, the US economy continues to be resilient.  Growth has slowed somewhat but remains in the 2% annual GDP growth range, which is reasonable given all the variables.  The consumer continues to spend, supported by a solid job market.  This is offsetting manufacturing, which continues to decline, mostly impacted by trade.  The chart below shows that several recession indicators are flashing red but several others remain positive. The US economy will definitely fall back into a recession – the question is when, not if, and how severe will it be. If US / China trade tensions ease or at least remain at a truce, then I expect the US economy to avoid a recession until late 2020 or early 2021.  If trade tensions escalate then the likelihood of recession moves closer in time.

11.5.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_1

Our approach has always been to stay diversified and adjust as economic and market conditions dictate.  In years like 2019, diversification can feel disappointing but investing isn’t a 1 year game, it’s a long-term process and diversification generally wins in the long run. The results highlighted below are for a typical 60% equity 40% fixed income and cash portfolio,  and reasonably reflect how our investment philosophy has performed.

11.5.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_2

We will continue to follow our philosophy, while monitoring markets for opportunities and threats.

We hope you find this information helpful.  Please feel free to share it with family, friends and colleagues.

 

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

  • November is National Family Caregivers Month.   Please consider reaching out to a family member or friend who is caring for a loved one. Why not offer to give them a day off.  This hits home for Eloise and I this year as we have been caring for my mom since August 2019 and her Uncle since May 2018.  Sadly Uncle CS passed away on November 1st.

 

November 1st           Healthcare open enrollment – runs through 12/15/18  – for coverage starting Jan 1, 2018  

                                    Note: Medicare open enrollment started 10/15/18 and end 12/7/18

November 3rd           Set those clocks back

November 5th           Election Day  – be sure to vote

November 11th         Veterans Day – says thanks a Vet

November 21st         Great American Smokeout – encourage a smoker to quit

November 28th        Thanksgiving – have a wonderful holiday 

 

 

P.S. Thank you for your referrals. They are making a big difference in my practice. Feel free to share my name with your friends on Facebook or LinkedIn

 

Sources:  BlackRock, Blackstone Investment Group

 

 

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.

 

 

October Monthly Outlook – The Right Question

The right question, at this stage, is not if we will have a recession in the US, but when.  The right time to prepare for potential difficulties in the economy and financial markets is when conditions are still good – like now.

The current US economic expansion entered its 11th  year in July 2019, the longest expansion in history.  However, starting in June 2019 the US economy is showing signs of slowing. This can be seen in the chart below, which shows the LEI leveling off over the last few months. Economic indicators around the world continue to point to a slowdown in the global economy as shown in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development LEI chart.

It’s not time to sound the alarm – yet.  The US remains the “cleanest dirty shirt” with economic growth slowing to around 2% per year.

Specifically, I’m watching job growth, which has slowed over the last 3 months.  We get the September jobs report on 10/4. I’m also watching how the trade wars are affecting sentiment.  In September, consumer confidence fell sharply, with a near record one-third of consumers surveyed negatively mentioning trade policies.  Trade is also affecting business sentiment, with 65% of global CFOs viewing trade policy as a negative for their organizations. But these CFOs also felt the US economy was stable.

On the investment front, I am watching corporate profits, which will start to be reported for the 3rd quarter next week.  Perhaps more importantly will be what corporations say about the profit outlook going forward. This will likely have the biggest impact on financial markets in the near-term.

The right question is “when?”.  We are preparing as though the “when” is sooner rather than later.  We are doing this by staying diversified, tightening up risk controls and staying focused on our long-term plan.  Please call if you have any questions or concerns.

We hope you find this report informative.  Please share it with anyone who you feel would benefit from the information.

 

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

  • October is Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness month.

 

October 7th        3rd anniversary of purchasing our office building – we’d love to have you come for a visit   – 141 W Main Street Rockaway

October 8th       Yom Kippur – G’mar Hatima Tova to our clients, colleagues, family and friends who celebrate

October 14th      Columbus Day

October 15th  Medicare open enrollment    thru 12/7/18 – you can switch from original Medicare to Medicare Advantage, or vice versa. You can also switch from one Medicare Advantage plan to another, or from one Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan to another, or drop your Medicare Part D coverage altogether. Please call us if you have any questions about your options.

October 28th   National Chocolate Day – I’m going for Godiva, how about you?

October 31st    Halloween

 

 

 

Sources:  CNBC.com, Blackstone, Nottingham Advisors, Charles Schwab

 

 

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.

September Monthly Outlook – “This Time It’s Different’

Sir John Templeton, the founder of Templeton Investments, said that the four most expensive words in investing are “This time it’s different.”

The most predictive part of the Treasury yield curve, the 10-year to 2-year spread, inverted on a closing basis on 8/22/19 and remains inverted currently. This indicates that the US economic expansion may have between 1-2 years before falling into recession. While the stock market can rally on the hope of a trade deal with China, fundamentals can develop later that cause earnings and the economy to disappoint. That’s what the inversion is telling us. But the curve has inverted five times since the late 1970s—and each time a recession started an average of 20 months later. The chart below shows how predictive a yield curve inversion is. Make no mistake, a recession will eventually come. I don’t believe “this time it’s different”.

10Y/2Y Spread Inverted Before Each of the Last Five Recessions

9.3.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_1

Source: as Blackstone as of 8/26/19

 

August was one of the most volatile months in a decade.  On an average day over the past month the S&P 500 has moved +/-1%, one of its widest ranges since the financial crisis. There were 11 out of 22 trading days with price moves of greater than 1% plus or minus during the month. Despite many large daily and intraday swings, the S&P remains stuck within a narrow range between 2,945 and 2,822.

9.3.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_2

Source: SentimenTrader

The wide swings in stocks are due in no small part to a historic level of uncertainty regarding the U.S. administration’s economic policies. An index of that uncertainty has spiked to a level that matches other major financial or geopolitical events.

9.3.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_3

Source: SentimenTrader

These uncertainties have led to sharp indecision by investors – buying on any good news and selling on any bad news.  In my experience, periods of sharp indecision are generally resolved sharply. Given that we are heading into the statistically worst month for stock market returns, I am preparing as if this indecision is resolved to the downside.  Also, while consumer spending has remained strong, consumer confidence took a steep decline in August, falling by the most since December 2013. One out of every three consumers surveyed mentioned tariffs and trade war as their biggest concern.

9.3.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_4

9.3.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_5

Source: Yardeni Research                                                                                                                  Source: FactSet, MarketWatch

I expect September to be the same roller coaster ride we saw in August. At the moment, I believe the upside potential is less than the downside risk. As such, we remain neutrally positioned with a cautious bias. I would rather miss out on a small upside move to avoid getting caught in a swift downside adjustment. Feel free to call us with any questions.

P.S. Thank you for your referrals. They are making a big difference in my practice. Feel free to share my name with your friends on Facebook or LinkedIn.

 

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

  • Summer is over and kids are going back to school  – please be careful on the roads.

 

Sep 2nd             Labor Day

Sept 11th          Patriot Day- honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11/01

Sept 12th          Eloise and my 11th anniversary

Sept 23rd          Autumn begins

Sept 29th          Rosh Hashana begins – wishing all our family, friends, and colleagues of the Jewish faith a very Happy New Year

Sept 29th          National Coffee Day – Where would we be without coffee?

 

 

Sources: Yardeni Research, SentimenTrader. Blackstone, FactSet, MarketWatch

 

 

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.

 

August 2019 Monthly Outlook – Uncertainty

There is always uncertainty – whether we are talking about weather, financial markets, or sporting events, it doesn’t matter. Anticipating future events comes with the unknown. Predict the daily weather one year from now, highly uncertain. Predict the weather tomorrow and the likelihood of a successful prediction increases, but it is still far from exact. The same can be said for sports. Have a five-run lead in the 9th inning? It’s probably safe to say that your team will win but it isn’t certain.

Financial markets are a bit of an odd duck. In the prior two examples, shortening the prediction time, one year to one day for the weather, and one game to one inning for the baseball game, increased our certainty. With financial markets, longer is generally easier because most things that matter to financial markets tend to trend around an average over long periods of time. When markets deviate, assuming they will return to rend over the long run is usually a safe bet. However, when we are predicting the short-term for financial markets, there is heightened degree of uncertainty.

Case in point:  Since April 2019, I have been writing that I was concerned about the divergence between what I was seeing in economic indicators and what the financial markets were doing.  Since April the stock market (basis S&P 500) kept creeping higher, achieving several new all-time highs culminating in a record close of 3025.86 on July 26, 2019.  As I am writing this note at 11am EST on 8/2/19, the S&P 500 has fallen 3.6% over the last 4 days.

Here’s the irony – the economic indicators I follow have actually been improving over the last several weeks.  GDP for the 2nd quarter came is slightly better than expected, with consumer spending being very strong.  The job market remains robust, while inflation remains below 2%.  Corporate profits for the 2nd quarter are coming in much better than I expected. Despite the improving data the Federal Reserve cut interest rates on July 31st for the first time in 10 years.

While indicators in the US are solid and improving, the same is not true globally. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced their forecast for global economic growth to 3.2% (down from 3.5% at the beginning of the year), stating the “ risks to the forecast are mainly to the downside”.  The two biggest factors they cited were the US-China trade war and Brexit (UK leaving the EU).

The near-term uncertainties I am monitoring are:

  1. The US-China trade war – which shows no sign of resolution given the President’s decision on 8/1/19 to impose additional tariffs on China starting 9/1/19.
  2. Brexit – The UK has a new Prime Minister who needs to negotiate a deal to leave the EU by October 31, 2019.  Until that is resolved I expect European economies to be on hold.

Investing seasonality – the chart below shows the average monthly performance of the S&P 500 since 1954.  As you can see August through October is historically the weakest period during the year.

8.2.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_1

Given all factors I remain cautious and neutrally positioned in investment portfolios with heightened risk monitoring. Feel free to call us with any questions or concerns.

 

August 2019 Calendar of Events   (comments and suggestions always welcome)

August 2nd          International Beer Day

August  8th        My birthday!

August 13th       International Left-Handers Day

August 16th      National Tell a Joke day

August 26th       Women’s Equality Day – as the son of a single mom and the father of 3 wonder young women, I support improving equality for women in all areas.

P.S. Thank you for your referrals. They are making a big difference in my practice. Feel free to share my name with your friends on Facebook or LinkedIn. Thank you to Ben G., Michele M. and Melanie M. for introductions to friends and family this month.

Sources:  Raymond James & Associates, Nottingham Advisors, CNBC.com

 

 

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.

July 2019 Monthly Outlook – A Tale of Two Cities

A Tale of Two Cities – the novel by Charles Dickens – about the life in two cities, London and Paris, during the 1800’s  – opens with “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness”.

The current state of affairs brought this quote to mind for me.  In this case our 2 cities are the economy and the financial markets.  The financial markets are behaving as if it was “the best of times” and the “age of foolishness” while the economy is looking more like we are moving towards worse times and a need for more wisdom.

The S&P 500 closed out June 2019 with the best first half of a year in over a decade, and less than 1% below a new all-time high.  All 11 broad industry sectors were positive YTD.  The best of times indeed.  The “Dumb Money” Confidence index just crossed into the red zone.  Notice what happens to the S&P500 (SPX) when this index reaches these levels.  Clearly some foolishness going on.

7.2.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_1

Conversely, the US economy closed out June with some negative trends emerging in economic data.  Leading Economic Indicators, published by the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI) has rolled over and is at a level not seen since 2011.

7.2.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_2

The Conference Board’s consumer confidence index declined in June to its lowest point in nearly two years. The US economy remains the envy of the world but some cracks are starting to show. Certainly not the “worst of times” but clearly a trend that requires some “wisdom”

So what are we watching going forward:

  1. Second quarter corporate earnings season starts in earnest on 7/15/19.   To date 77% of companies issuing pre-announcements say their profit picture will be worse than Wall Street is expecting. That’s the second-worst quarter on record going back to 2006, according to FactSet. The biggest issue companies are reporting are uncertainty about US tariff policies. If corporate profits are poor the stock market will likely see a correction.7.2.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_3
  2. Tariff negotiations –  A temporary “truce” was announced in the trade war between the US and China.  I am skeptical a deal can be completed.  A similar “truce” was announced back in December 2018, only to have both the US and China increase tariffs in mid-May 2019.  Additionally, there are pending tariffs on European Union auto’s that need to resolved by November 2019. There is also a brewing trade battle with India.
  3. The Federal Reserve – at their June 2019 meeting they appeared to signal a willingness to lower interest rates to help support the slowing economy. Despite what the President says, monetary policy is not “tight” and negatively impacting the economy.  In fact, monetary policy is quite loose and I think a rate cut now is unwarranted.  I also don’t believe a rate cut will be sufficient to offset the negative effects of all the tariff battles going on.
  4. Congress – the US still needs to raise the debt ceiling and create a new federal budget by the end of September.  Given the disfunction in Washington this is sure to be an 11th hour, kick the can down the road issue.
  5. International issues – The United Kingdom faces an election of a new Prime Minister and finalizing their exit from the EU.  Rising tensions in the Middle East, specifically around Iran and the nuclear treaty.

 

In summary, our outlook going forward is one of caution but not defensive. I prefer to not try to chase gains at the expense of suffering losses if the stock market wakes up to what the economy is saying.  We continue to focus on well diversified portfolios with good risk controls.

Please call us if you have any questions.

Feel free to pass this note along to family, friends, and colleagues as you see fit.

 

P.S. Thank you for your referrals. They are making a big difference in my practice. Feel free to share my name with your friends on Facebook or LinkedIn.

I want to extend a special thanks to clients & colleagues who have recently referred us to family and friends:

Benny G.     Kevin W.   Richard L.

 

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

    • July is National Picnic and National Parks month – why not go to a national park and have a picnic – a 2 for 1
    • Interesting tidbit – July Fourth — When the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, the population of the 13 colonies was 2.5 million, equal to the population of Houston today (source: Census Bureau, BTN Research).

 

 

July 1st             Bureau of Internal Revenue (the IRS) founded in 1862– betcha nobody celebrates this birthday

July 4th            Independence Day

July 11th          My daughter Ryan’s birthday

July 21st           National Ice Cream Day   – Breyers vanilla with Hershey’s chocolate syrup is my go-to

July 29th          National Lasagna Day

July 30th              International Friendship Day is a day designed to foster friendships and bridge the gaps between race, color, religion

 

 

  • Sources:  SentimenTrader, Advisor Perspectives, CNBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

June 2019 Monthly Outlook – Business Cycle in the Late Stage

The global economy is entering into a mature / late cycle stage. We see continued solid, albeit slower, growth in the US, improvement in China, low inflation in most developed countries, and a pivot towards more fiscal stimulus and more accommodative monetary policies around the globe.  Historically, late-cycle phases have ranged from 9 months to more than 2 years.  The near-term risk of recession remains low, but the outlook for 2020 is less certain.

6.3.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_1

*The diagram above is a hypothetical illustration of the business cycle. There is not always a chronological, linear progression among the phases of the business cycle, and there have been cycles when the economy has skipped a phase or retraced an earlier one. A growth recession is a significant decline in activity relative to a country’s long-term economic potential. We use the “growth cycle” definition for most developing economies, such as China, because they tend to exhibit strong trend performance driven by rapid factor accumulation and increases in productivity, and the deviation from the trend tends to matter most for asset returns. We use the classic definition of recession, involving an outright contraction in economic activity, for developed economies. Source: Fidelity Investments (AART), as of April 30, 2019.

US: Late-cycle dynamics clear, pace of phase progression uncertain

The US is currently displaying more key late-cycle trends than it has over the past 3 years (see chart below). However, these trends remain relatively slow moving, and some have recently stalled, including wage growth and Fed tightening. The direction and rate of change of these trends should help determine how long the current cycle extends.

The US is exhibiting key late-cycle trends, but they have been slow moving

Indicator Current trend Latest readings
Employment/wages Labor markets tighter; wages higher than 2–3 years ago Pace of improvement has stalled
Monetary policy Fed policy tighter than one year ago Fed on indefinite pause
Yield curve Flattening Flat, near inversion
Credit Some tightening of lending standards Credit accessible, spreads tight
Corporate profits Margins lower than 3 years ago Earnings boosted from tax cuts; expectations ~5% and stable
 

Source: Fidelity Investments (AART), as of March 31, 2019.

 

China: Better but may not be enough to help global economy

China’s outlook has improved in 2019. Due in large part to a greater shift toward fiscal and monetary stimulus, industrial production growth has begun to recover and it appears the economy may be emerging from its growth recession.

 

Europe: Stabilizing at a weak level

Labor markets have generally continued to improve in many core European economies, but consumer sentiment and consumption gains remain muted. In fact, German households have increased their savings rate over the past year, even as unemployment has dropped to cyclical lows

 

Base-case scenario: Muddling through the late cycle

Our base-case scenario is that the global economy is past its peak and most major countries are in mature stages of the business cycle. While the absolute level of global growth remains muted, leading indicators of activity have recently reflected some signs of stabilization. This environment should be generally favorable to a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds.

 

Best-case scenario: Prolonged Goldilocks environment

The best of all possible worlds would be if the various trade/tariff battles get resolved successfully, which would allow business investment to pick up.  US productivity growth re-accelerated on a sustained basis, providing faster growth without stoking inflation. This could allow the Federal Reserve to stay on hold (no rate increases). This environment should be generally favorable to risk assets such as stocks.

 

Worst-case scenario: Rising recession risks

The worst-case scenario is that the global economy continues faltering. In this scenario, China’s stimulus would prove insufficient, global economic growth would remain lackluster, and the US economy would decelerate. Current market expectations that the Fed’s next move will be a rate cut would be proven correct, but this would be a response to rising recession risks. In this environment riskier assets, such as stocks, would be expected to perform worse than more defensive ones, such as government bonds.

 

The big wild card: Trade policy

The big risk that could shock the global cycle into a more challenging outcome would be the escalation of US trade tensions. The US-China trade talks have stalled.  President Trump has threatened tariffs on Mexico, even before the recently negotiated US/Mexico/Canada trade deal has been ratified, and trade negotiations are ongoing with the European Union. A return to tit-for-tat tariff increases would create stagflationary headwinds on a global basis, and they would likely weigh heavily on business and financial-market sentiment. The worse-case scenario of rising global recession risk would become more pronounced.

 

The outcome of the trade issue is highly uncertain. While I can see reasons for a deal getting done (mostly the 2020 US election), the recent actions and rhetoric make that less likely.

 

There are several key dates I am watching in June:

 

  • June 1  –   the day Chinese tariffs are implemented on $60 billion of U.S. exports
  • June 10 –  the day the recently announced tariffs on Mexico are to be implemented
  • June 19 –  the next Federal Reserve meeting and interest rate announcement
  • June 24 –  when the U.S. could outline an additional $325 billion worth of Chinese imports to be tariffed
  • June 28 –  the potential face-to-face meeting between Presidents Trump and Xi at the G-20 summit in Japan

 

My outlook is cautious but not bearish.  We have tightened our risk-controls but have not gone defensive.  We continue to monitor all of our indicators and will respond accordingly.

Rest assured that your portfolio is diversified and prepared for this type of market environment. Expectations of increased volatility are built into your portfolio.

We hope you find this report helpful.  Please call us with any questions.  Also, please share this report with anyone you feel it would benefit.

 

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

  • June is LGBT Pride Month.  Let’s all work towards acceptance and inclusion of people regardless of their sexual orientation.
  • June is also National Safety month.  Schools are closing for summer and folks will be outside more so be mindful on the roads. Perhaps take a first aid or CPR course.

 

June 14th         Flag Day                  

June 17th         Father’s Day  – wishing all father’s, grandfathers, and great grandfathers a wonderful day.

June 21th         Summer begins – let’s see what Mother Nature has in store for us                   

On a personal note, the newest member of the Directional Wealth Management Team, Skyler Misa, was baptized on June 2nd.  Congratulations to the Misa family.

skylar_baptism

Sources: Fidelity Investments (AART), Investopedia Chart Advisor

 

 

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.

May 2019 Market Outlook – Sifting Through the Clutter

We all complain that so much is happening so fast these days it’s hard to keep up. However, the plethora of events that could have a negative impact on the financial markets is being ignored, and investors seem to be assuming that everything going on will somehow be resolved favorably.  The S&P 500 index is up 15% so far this year in spite of a world-wide economic slowdown and political turmoil in the United States, the United Kingdom and almost everywhere else.

What are some of the key issues?  US/China trade deal, Brexit , Federal Reserve policy, Congress needing to increase the debt ceiling, just to name a few. If these issues don’t work out favorably, we can expect some market turbulence going forward.  Its also worth considering a few developments that have gone right in the last few months.  The Federal Reserve has decided to pause on its policy of raising interest rates and shrinking its balance sheet; the government shutdown has ended; there is some better economic news out of China, which is the primary engine of world growth; and inflation has remained low almost everywhere.  There are some signs that the second half of the year might be better for the U.S. and Europe.

Here is what I’m watching:

 

US Economy:

The initial report for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the 1st quarter of 2019 was much stronger than expected at 3.2%.  However, a look inside the components of GDP shows that most of the growth came from an increase in inventories and net exports.  Private Domestic Final Purchases, which is consumer spending plus business fixed investment plus residential fixed investment, only rose at a 1.3% annual rate in 1Q19 (vs. +2.6% in 4Q18), up 2.8% year-over-year. More importantly the trend over the last several quarters has been declining as the chart below shows.

5.2.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_1

Global Economy:

While there have been some signs of stabilization in global economies, the trend still appears to be down.  More than half of the global indicators I watch are giving negative signals, supporting my position that the global economy remains in a slowdown.  Below is a chart of the Global Manufacturing PMI (purchasing manager index) showing a decline to just above 50 – the level that divides growth from contraction.

5.2.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_2

Financial Markets:

While the S&P 500 Index hit an all-time high on April 30, 2019, the was a concerning lack of breadth from the individual stocks. Of the 753 days that the S&P 500 closed at a 52-week high since 1990, on average 13.5% of the stocks within the S&P also reached a 52-week high. On Tuesday 4/30/19, only 2.6% of the components or just 13 stocks hit a new high along with the index. This means the market is being pushed higher by a small group of out-performers.

Another concern is the divergence between large companies and small companies.  While the S&P 500 Index (the largest 500 companies) has reached an all-time high, the Russell 2000 Index (index of 2,000 of the smaller companies in the US) has lagged behind over the last couple of months.

5.2.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_3

Also, as my 4/23/19 note indicated, trading volume has been quite low since the end of March 2019.  This indicates that no one is scrambling to buy stocks.

Finally, May is historically one of the weakest months of the year for the stock market.

5.2.2019_MONTHLY_OUTLOOK_CHART_4

Putting all of this together, the conclusion is that there is a neutral background for the financial markets. I expect to see a pullback in stocks during May, albeit a small decline.  However, I do expect stocks to continue to do better than bonds going forward. We continue to monitor our indicators and will adjust accordingly.

I hope this report proves informative.

 

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

 

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

  • May is National Mental Health awareness month.  Nearly 44 million American adults, and millions of children, experience mental health conditions each year. Let’s all get educated on this issue and work towards acceptance and inclusion of people dealing with mental health issues.

              

May 5th                       Cinco De Mayo – stay thirsty my friends                 

May 12th                     Mother’s Day – wishing all mom’s, grandmothers, and great grandmothers a wonderful day.

May 18th                      Armed Forces Day.  Dedicated to recognizing those presently serving in our armed forces

May 23rd                     My daughter Caryn’s birthday  

May 27th                     Memorial Day – let’s remember and give thanks to all who served our country

 

 

Sources: Blackstone, Yardeni Research, Ned Davis Research, Raymond James & Associates

 

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.