Saturday, February 17, 2018

Continuing To Favor U.S. Large Cap Stocks Over U.S. Small Cap Stocks

With the passage of tax reform, one market segment one might believe experiences an outsized benefit to earnings is U.S small cap stocks. This certainly seems plausible due to the fact smaller companies tend to have less direct exposure to foreign revenue; therefore, likely generating most of their profits in the U.S.

Our firm exited completely the U.S. small cap space in late 2013 based on a number of factors, with one being the relative valuation of small cap stocks versus large cap stocks. Reviewing the relative valuation of small caps versus large caps based on price earnings ratios has certainly turned to favor small over large as can be seen in the chart below.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Small Businesses Remain Highly Optimistic

Tuesday's report by NFIB on small business optimism for the month of January places the reading in the top five highest coming in at 106.9. According to NFIB the response to "Now Is A Good Time To Expand" was 32% and is the highest level for this category in the Indexes 45-year history. Today's strong NFIB report comes on the heals of a record level of optimism in 2017. NFIB President and CEO, Juanita Duggan noted,

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Enhancing Investment Results By Utilizing An Investment Mentor

In a recent article, Strong Hands - Bridging the Behavior Gap, by Pim van Vliet, PhD, a Managing Director at Robeco Institutional Asset Management, it was noted that,
"the average mutual fund investor lags a buy-and-hold strategy by -1.9%. This finding is persistent across different styles, varying from -1.3% for value investors to -3.2% for growth investors. Also 'passive' investors in market funds underperform a buy-and-hold strategy by a whopping -2.7%."

Monday, February 12, 2018

Dow Dogs Struggle Early In 2018

The Dogs of the Dow of 2018 include two newcomers, General Electric (GE) and Procter & Gamble (PG). These two stocks made the list of top 10 dividend yielding stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index for 2018 and replaced Boeing (BA) and Caterpillar (CAT). Unfortunately the new additions are weighing down the performance of the Dow Dogs so far this year as they are the worst performing stocks out of the ten Dow Dogs year to date through Friday's market close.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Last Week Was The Beginning Of An Equity Market Returning To Normality

Some are saying last week's market movement is one for the record books. I have seen descriptions noting the market decline was unprecedented or the market is in turmoil. S&P Dow Jones Indices Indexology Blog titled a post, I'm Exhausted, but outlines data that places the market decline in perspective. One data point in S&P's post,
"Keeping perspective, as repeatedly noted, while 1000 point declines make for frightening headlines, the percentage changes represented by those moves are not uncommon. To wit, there have been nearly 300 daily 4% or greater moves since the DJIA’s inception. Put another way, 3 of the top 10 worst point drops on record occurred during this recent spell; none of them, however, come anywhere near the worst percentage."

Thursday, February 08, 2018

A Reversal In Bullish Investment Sentiment

I have often written that sentiment measures are most valuable at their extremes. Also, they tend to be most representative of potential market turning points when the extreme is at the bearish end of the spectrum. However, in hindsight, it appears recent excessive bullishness for individual investors and institutional investors indicated a cautionary equity market outlook would have been profitable.

The first chart below represents individual investors' bullish sentiment responses as reported weekly by The American Association of Individual Investors. On January 4 of this year bullish sentiment spiked to near 60% and represents a high level for this reading. About a month later, the 8-period moving average reached near 51%, also a high level for the 8-period average, although the average has exceed 60% in the past. 

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Volatility Returns

Unwelcome, Unpleasant, Inevitable. The recent spike in volatility has certainly caught the attention of investors over the past several days and as corrections go, the market drop has been quick and sharp. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pullbacks Are A Normal Part Of A Bull Market

During the Fed's move to increase short term interest rates, some have expressed concerns due to the yield curve's increased flattening, i.e., short rates moving higher versus long term interest rates. This increased flattening move can be seen in the below chart and the concern centers around the fact that every recession since 1960 has been preceded by an inverted yield curve, i.e., short term rates higher than long term rates. The move by the Fed to push short term rates higher is part of a normal process to get interest rates back to a normalized level.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Will The Stock Market Ever Decline Again?

For many investors it may seem difficult to believe since it has been so long ago, but the equity markets do go through negative returning periods. The average intra-year decline for the S&P 500 Index since 1980 is 14% and the last double digit decline was in February 2016, nearly two years ago. So what in the world is going on that has stocks in what seems an uninterrupted climb?

The below 'monthly' chart shows the S&P 500 Total Return Index since the beginning of 2016. Over the course of the two years, 2016 and 2017, the S&P 500 Index has experienced only three negative returning months (red bars) with no down months in 2017. The last bar on the chart represents the January 2018 return and the start of this year has been decidedly bullish.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

A Balancing Oil Market, But Will It Last?

In May 2011 crude oil (WTI) hit $113 per barrel and remained elevated at or near that level until the summer of 2014. Given the high price of crude and the expansion of fracking at that time, crude supply continued to grow until peaking in mid 2017. I wrote about the high crude supply level in mid 2017 and its impact on keeping oil prices down, Higher Oil Prices Contend With Too Much Supply And Higher Energy Efficiency. Today, we are seeing crude oil inventory decline at a fairly rapid rate as can be seen with the green line in the below chart.