When new highs aren’t bullish

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.  ...

What would Bob Farrell say?

What would the legendary market analyst Bob Farrell say about today’s markets? I was reviewing the patterns of factor returns recently, and I was reminded of three of Farrell’s 10 Rules of Investing (which are presented slightly out of order).   Rule 3: There are no new eras – excesses are never permanent. Rule 2: Excesses in...

Tactically cautious, despite the data glitch

In yesterday’s post, I pointed out that, according to FactSet, consensus S&P 500 EPS estimates had dropped about -0.50 across the board over the last three weeks (see 2020 is over, what’s the next pain trade?).     The decline turned out to be a data anomaly. A closer examination of the evolution of consensus...

2020 is over, what’s the next pain trade?

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 Democrats’ trifecta win explained

Last weekend, I conducted an unscientific and low sample Twitter poll on the market perception of the Georgia special Senate elections. The results were surprising. Respondents were bullish on both a Republican and Democratic sweep.     As the results of the Georgia Senate race became clear, the analyst writing under the pseudonym Jesse Livermore...

The Roaring 20’s scenario, and what could go wrong

Happy New Year! Investors were happy to see the tumultuous 2020 come to a close. The past year has been one with little precedent. A pandemic brought the global economy to a screeching halt. The stock market crashed, and it was followed by an unprecedented level of fiscal and monetary response from authorities around the...

Debunking the Buffett Indicator

There has been some recent hand wringing over Warren Buffett's so-called favorite indicator, the market cap to GDP ratio. This ratio has rocketed to new all-time highs, indicating nosebleed valuation conditions for the stock market.     Worries about this ratio are overblown. Here's why.     Dissecting market cap to GDP Let's begin by...

Time for another year-end FOMO stampede?

In late 2017, the stock market melted up in a FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) stampede as enthusiasm about the Trump tax cuts gripped investor psychology. The market corrected in early 2018 and rose steadily into October, though the advance could not be characterized as a melt-up. In late 2019, the market staged a similar...

How to outperform by 50-250% over 2-3 years

Investors are increasingly convinced that the cyclical and Great Rotation trade is very real and long-lasting (see Everything you need to know about the Great Rotation but were afraid to ask). That should be bullish for the S&P 500, right?   Well, sort of.   Despite the cyclical and reflationary tailwinds for stocks, the S&P...

Will Mnuchin and COVID derail the cyclical rebound?

I hope that I haven't offended the market gods. Just after my bullish call for a cyclical recovery (see Everything you need to know about the Great Rotation but were afraid to ask), a number of contrary data points have appeared to cast doubt on the reflation thesis.   The markets were jolted by the...

Growth, interrupted?

Two weeks ago, I rhetorically asked if investors should be buying into the cyclical recovery theme (see Buy the cyclical and reflation trade?). Global green shoots of recovery were appearing, but I identified the "uncertainty of additional fiscal stimulus" as a key risk to the cyclical rebound thesis. Now that Biden appears to be winning...

Scenario planning ahead of the Big Event

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.  ...

How to trade the election

With the US election just over two weeks away, it's time to look past the election and focus on how the economy and markets are likely to behave. Barry Ritholz correctly advised investors in a recent post to check their political beliefs at the door when analyzing markets. Stock prices have done slightly better under...

A valuation puzzle: Why are stocks so strong?

One of the investment puzzles of 2020 is the stock market's behavior. In the face of the worst global economic downturn since the Great Depression, why haven't stock prices fallen further? Investors saw a brief panic in February and March, and the S&P 500 has recovered and even made an all-time high in early September....

Broken Trends: How the world changed

The world is changing, but it changed even before Trump's COVID-19 news.     In the past few weeks, a couple of key macro trends have reversed themselves. The US Dollar, which large speculators had accumulated a crowded short position, stopped falling and began to turn up. In addition, inflation expectations, as measured by the...

How to spot the next market bottom

RealMoney columnist Helene Meisler asked rhetorically in an article where her readers thought we are in the equity sentiment cycle. She concluded that the market is in the "subtle warning" phase, though she would allow that the "overt warning" phase was also possible.     I agree. This retreat is acting like the start of a...

A healthy rotation into cyclical stocks?

There is growing evidence that the stock market is undergoing a rotation from large cap technology to cyclical and reflation stocks. Exhibit A is the market action of the tech heavy NASDAQ 100, which violated a key rising channel and also violated its 50 day moving average (dma). By contrast, the broader S&P 500 is...

How far can the market fall?

Macro Charts recently observed that S&P 500 DSI is turning down from an overbought extreme. Historically, that has led to either sharp corrections or a prolonged period of choppiness.     In light of these conditions, I have been asked about downside equity risk. Is this the start of a significant downdraft? How far can...

How the Fed’s Policy Review received an incomplete grade

It has been over a week since Jerome Powell's virtual Jackson Hole speech in which he laid out the Fed's revised its updates to its Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy after a long and extensive internal review. There were two changes. one was a shift towards an "average inflation targeting" regime, where the...

Growth stock wobbles

Mid-week market update: One of the defining characteristics of the current bull run is the dominance of US large cap growth stocks. Joe Wiesenthal wrote about the problem of the effect of the "superstar companies" on the economy in a Twitter thread and in a Bloomberg commentary. The "superstar companies" have few employees, and therefore high labor...