Putting The Market's Surge in Proper Focus It’s almost like the stock market is on another planet, with its record-breaking performance while the real-economy seems to be a different world. But when you take a closer look, the separation of the market from the real economy is not so mysterious but driven by “Covidnomics -- the unique economics of the Covid pandemic. The FAANGM companies -- Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Google, and Microsoft -– led the economic recovery after the Covid shutdown, and they have roared ahead of the broader market. But appreciation in shares of FAANGM share prices are magnified enormously in the performance of the major stock indexes, like the Standard & Poor’s 500, which weights each company by market capitalization –- the price times the number of all shares outstanding. The largest 25 companies in the S&P 500 account for about 42% of its return, while the smallest 25 of the 500 companies in the index accounted for just three-tenths of 1% of its return. The huge losses sustained by the smallest 25 companies are hardly a factor in the market-cap weighted S&P 500 index, but they reflect the world of pain in the real economy. Of the 500 stocks in the S&P 500, 294 suffered share-price declines so far in 2020 and the average loss was 24.1%! At the same time, it’s also important to note that the FAANGM stocks are not wildly overvalued. The PEG ratios of the FAANGM – their price-to-earnings ratios divided by their earnings growth rate – are not unreasonable, nothing like a stock-bubble of 1999! With stock indexes breaking records, remember that the S&P 500 is NOT the real economy. It’s just Covidnomics, just one of many financial economic anomalies caused by the Covid pandemic shutdown and recovery. Please contact us with any questions or to set up a meeting firstname.lastname@example.org , and don't hesitate to share this video with people who might benefit from our work
History shows that you can’t time stock returns. To capture the market’s historical premiums, you have to be patient.
When stocks repeatedly break new all-time highs, as they have done in recent weeks, you have to start wonder if investors are growing irrational, overly exuberant. Here are the facts. These four charts show the latest reading of key fundamental economic factors driving record financial market prices. Let’s start with the latest figures on the nation’s gross domestic product. Third quarter growth tallied by the federal government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis came in at 1.93%. The net of three of the four factors in economic growth — business investment, net exports, and state and local government spending — did not contribute to growth but consumer strength offset them and was the source of the 1.93% quarterly growth rate for the U.S.
Despite months of frightening financial news, the third quarter ended on September 30 with the stock market only 1.6% off its all-time record high. Including the bear market plunge suffered last Christmas, when the stocks lost 19.8%, the Standard & Poor’s 500 over the last 12 months , showed a return of +2.2%. In the first three quarters of the year, the S&P 500 returned 19%, overcoming a rising tide of fear about the trade war with China, an inversion of the yield curve, a growing chorus of recession predictions, and political crisis. What’s it mean? How does it affect investing? It’s notable that the stock market did not drop on worries about the China trade confrontation or the political crisis — two of the major stories in the news now. The three major stock market drops in the past year were all related to Federal Reserve Board actions. Since the Fed backed off its forecast for rising rates and inflation in January, consumer spending and income have been about as strong as they have ever been in post-War American history! So don’t despair over the various crises and keep an eye on the Fed’s actions in extending the longest economic expansion in modern history in 2020 and beyond. Please contact us with any questions or to set up a meeting, and don't hesitate to share this video with people who might benefit from my work.
Stocks have been more volatile because the difference between perception and reality of financial economic conditions is growing wider. The S&P 500 — the key benchmark of America — is supposed to price shares after discounting everything — the Federal Reserve’s policies, politics, inflation, and population trends. When fundamental facts grow harder to discern, stocks grow more volatile, and that’s what’s been happening lately, especially with the widespread misperception of the yield curve inversion. A yield curve inversion is when the yield on 10 year US Treasury Bonds is less than the yield on three-month T Bills. Since the 1960s, when investors thought the 10-year long term outlook for bonds looked worse than the three month outlook, inverting the yield, recessions usually followed 12 to 18 months later. While the recent inversion of the yield curve is perceived as evidence a recession is on the way, the reality is very different. The inversion of the yield curve currently is being driven by negative interest rates in Europe. Negative yields in Europe and Japan — an unprecedented condition in the largest economies in the world — is a new thing and it’s not widely understood.
After the yield curve inverted on Wednesday, August 14, financial headlines turned grim. ”Longer-term rates below shorter term rates are a clear signal from bond investors that they think the United States economy is on the downswing, that its future looks worse than its present.” But this widely-held view in the financial press may be relying more on the yield curve than they should. In the past, when the yield curve inverted, it was because investors saw fundamental economic measures slowing down, but that’s not happening now.
It’s not the best of times, nor the worst. But the latest data is a tale of two of U.S. economies. From a record-high level in September 2018 of 61.3%, manufacturing activity has plunged, and the latest monthly data shows it slipped further in July. This data series is designed to signal a recession when it falls to less than 50%. At 51.2%, the manufacturing economy inched closer to indicating a recession could be on the horizon. Meanwhile, the survey of purchasing managers at non-manufacturing companies, those in the service economy, declined to 53.7% in July. It has also plunged from a record level in September, but it’s still well within its normal range. It’s much more important and it’s indicating growth is ahead.The “Service Economy” is not growing like it did during the tax-cut fueled peak of September 2018, but it’s doing okay. Continued growth is confirmed by the survey of 60 economists conducted in early August by The Wall Street Journal. The consensus forecast of 60 economic professionals for the next five quarters is for an average quarterly growth rate of 1.8%. That may seem paltry compared to the 3.1% growth rate in the first quarter, but it aligns with the long-term growth rate expected by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. With the service economy expected to grow slowly through 2020, the manufacturing sector is more vulnerable to higher tariffs on U.S. exports to China. The tale of two economies is an epoch and the drama affecting manufacturing draws headlines but is not so important to the epoch story of America’s economic growth.