The April jobs report on May 3rd sparked a renewal of something I’m calling the "Taper Trade." As I mentioned last week, the effect of renewed faith in U.S. cyclical stocks post-Q2 earnings, along with a rise in the ECRI’s leading economic indicator, better housing data, and this jobs data has been a shift in investor sentiment back towards growth, and away from defensive tactical weightings in Treasuries, the dollar, healthcare, and utilities.
Leading indicators for the labor market suggest we get an acceleration in payroll gains heading into the fall, which is what the market may be discounting currently as it continues to hit new all-time highs. With the market’s long-term momentum continuing to improve and the outlook for employment encouraging, the risks of a recession and/or bear market appear remote with the market likely heading to new all-time highs into the fall.
The past few years we have seen the market roar higher out of the gate only to suffer a sharp pullback as we enter the spring. A spike in the price of oil has been a major cause of that each time. As the price of fuel has spiked in each of the past few years we have all in effect suffered a tax hike.
The market is perhaps in the best shape it has been in over a year when looking at its trend and momentum. Perhaps the biggest development in recent weeks is the clear rotation away from defensive sectors and into cyclical sectors. This development is likely to propel the market even higher given 70% of the S&P 500 is made up of cyclical sectors. There is no erosion in either the market’s trend or momentum, and until we see erosion in the markets breadth and momentum the path of least resistance is clearly higher.
Jeffrey Saut, Chief Investment Strategist at Raymond James, tells investors on the Financial Sense Newshour that today’s market is “record setting,” experiencing what he says is the longest “buying stampede” in market history.
As was highlighted in last week's article, the key theme since 2011 has been declining inflation and economic growth rates. Lower inflation and weak economic growth is not the environment that favors investments in commodities or commodity-sensitive currencies (CAD, AUD).
Every once in a while I find it very helpful to just sit back and look at charts that essentially have no titling. At least for myself, it’s often an easy way to “see” trends, or more importantly change in trends, without having my own personal bias of the moment get in the way of trying to interpret what the chart(s) may be telling us.
No central bank wants to shock the economy the way the Fed did in the late 1930s, with its too-soon response. That experience suggests that they will err in the direction of waiting too long before removing QE or tapering the existing process. For investors, that means a prolonged period of very low interest rates, which are bullish for asset classes of nearly all types.
If you turn on the financial news networks they will be harping on the fact that while 70% of companies are beating earnings estimates just 42% are exceeding revenue estimates. Most fail to also point out that S&P 500 earnings in aggregate are at record levels. So, if earnings are at record levels it should not be shocking that the market is moving higher.