New highs can beget more new highs

The Dow, S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite all achieved new all-time highs last week. It is said that there is nothing more bullish than a stock making a new high. This is not a time for caution. Higher stock prices are ahead.     Here are the reasons why I am bullish.     Bullish...

How expensive are US equities?

How worried should equity investors be about valuation? The S&P 500 is trading at a forward P/E of 20.6, which is elevated compared to its 5-year average of 19.1 and 10-year average of 17.8. Moreover, the 10-year Treasury yield of 4.5% is becoming a more attractive alternative to owning stocks.     Here are the...

How Trump’s isolationism threatens long-term equity returns

Now that Donald Trump has become the presumptive Republican nominee for President, Wall Street is scrambling to model how a Trump White House may affect capital markets. A recent Bloomberg article summarized the consensus: Bond market: Expect rising yields from upward pressures on term premium. Currencies: Rising yields will put a bid under the USD....

What’s spooking the bond market, and why it matters to equities

What’s bothering the bond market? The 10-year Treasury yield (blue line) has shot up to levels last seen just before the GFC. The surge in yields has occurred just as investors are seeing better news on inflation. At the same time, core PCE (red line) has been falling. Shouldn’t that be good news for the...

A battle royale for control of the tape

Preface: Explaining our market timing models  We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.   The Trend...

The risks to the resilient bull

Ever since the NYSE Composite monthly MACD flashed a long-term buy signal, I have been monitoring the risks to the bull. Past positive MACD crossovers have signaled long-term resilient equity bull markets and such signals have marked durable advances, which are subject to the normal equity risk of minor corrections without significant bearish episodes.  ...

What are the contagion effects of a China slowdown?

Periodically, the market is rattled by a “China is slowing” narrative. As the accuracy of official Chinese statistics can be doubtful, the real-time market reaction indicates nervousness, but no panic. The performance of the equity markets of China and her major trading partners relative to MSCI All-Country World Index (ACWI) shows that their trends are...

The TARA risk from Japan

Strategists coined the term TINA (There Is No Alternative) for describing equities as an asset class during the low-interest rate era. Now that rates have risen, there is a new acronym, TARA (There Are Reasonable Alternatives). Today, U.S. faces a TARA challenge from elevated Treasury yields. The forward P/E ratio of the S&P 500 had...

It’s not just about the Fed

Mid-week market update: The market reaction to the FOMC decision was mostly a yawn. The Fed raised rates by a quarter-point, which was expected, and Powell refused to commit to further hikes while repeating his data dependency mantra.  As a consequence, the S&P 500 was mostly unchanged from before the decision to after the close....

The risks to the disinflation and soft-landing bull case

Ever since the softer-than-expected June CPI report, the Wall Street narrative has pivoted toward disinflation and a soft landing. The disinflationary trend had been building for some time and inflation has been surprising to the downside around the world.      As a consequence, the markets have taken a risk-on tone in anticipation of less...

What to watch for in a pivotal earnings season

The Q2 earnings reporting season could be a pivotal one. Earnings reports and subsequent corporate guidance are likely to give investors greater clarity on whether the economy is softening into a slowdown or undergoing a soft landing and recovery. The preliminary picture is a fragile recovery. Forward guidance for Q2 has improved from Q1. Negative...

Why our Ultimate Market Timing Model is cautious

 I recently had a discussion with a reader about my Ultimate Market Timing Model (UMTM). The UMTM is an extremely low turnover model that flashes signals once every few years and is designed to limit the extremes of the downside tail-risk of owning equities. When extreme downside risk is minimized, investors can afford to take...

What market structure tells us about where we are in the cycle

Preface: Explaining our market timing models  We maintain several market timing models, each with differing time horizons. The "Ultimate Market Timing Model" is a long-term market timing model based on the research outlined in our post, Building the ultimate market timing model. This model tends to generate only a handful of signals each decade.   The Trend...

How to spot the stock market bottom

Is the U.S. economy headed into recession? The signs are all there.   Even though a recession isn’t part of the Fed’s official forecast, Fed Chair Jerome Powell conceded during the May post-FOMC press conference that the Fed’s staff economists were calling for a mild recession. Carl Quintanilla of CNBC also reported that the overwhelming...

Why I’m not overly bullish or bearish

As the S&P 500 stalls at overhead resistance while exhibiting negative divergences, here are some reasons why you shouldn’t be overly bullish or bearish on U.S. equities.       The Bear Case The bear case for stocks is based mainly on macro and fundamental conditions. A recession is on the horizon in H2 2023,...

How to position for the coming growth slowdown

The International Monetary Fund published its latest World Economic Outlook. It cut its global GDP growth estimate by 0.1% from 2.9% in January to 2.8%. More ominously, it issued a warning about a growing risk of recession in the advanced economies from financial instability risk from bank failures: “A hard landing — particularly for advanced...