October 21, 2022, Weekly Equity Market Recap. For the week, both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 equity indexes rose nearly 5%, while the Nasdaq gained over 5%. Treasury yields also continued to rise, with the 10-year note yield spiking above 4.2, its highest level in almost 15 years. Morgan Stanley strategist Michael Wilson, who has held one of the most bearish views for stocks, changed his stance some about ‘tradable tactical rally looks likely, with S&P 500 rising to as high as 4,000 as good a guess as any.’ Also, better-than-expected S&P 500 earnings growth expectations were upped to 3.1% from a 2.8% on the week.
October 14, 2022, Weekly Equity Market Recap. For the week, the US equity markets finished mixed with the Dow up +1.15%, the S&P 500 down -1.56% and the Nasdaq off -3.11%. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 8.2 percent in the year through September, another tenacious high result driven by more costly food, rent and other items. CPI increased 6.6 percent after stripping out fuel and food. Overall inflation climbed 0.4 percent in September, much more than last month’s 0.1 percent reading. Similarly, September Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of prices at the wholesale level, rose 0.4% in September after falling 0.2% during the prior month as inflation also persisted on the manufacturing-side. Finally, US retail sales were unexpectedly unchanged in September as high inflation and rising interest rates dampen retail purchase demand for goods.
October 7, 2022, Weekly Equity Market Recap. The US equity markets seesawed on the week with a strong positive start but gave much back toward the end of the week. The major equity averages still ended the week higher with the Dow finishing up +2% for the week, while the S&P gained +1.5% and the Nasdaq +0.7%. What turned the positive tide in the markets was again, “all about the Fed.” In the second half of the week, released data showed that the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5% and this restoked fear of aggressive interest rate hikes ahead. Indeed, the Fed remained hawkish Friday, with Fed Governor Christopher Waller saying that “more needs to be done and rate hikes shouldn't pause until inflation moderates.” Investors will be anxious ahead of next week's inflation figures for September. Client portfolio allocation weightings remain high in cash, CDs, TIPs, energy, commodities and the four liquid alternative funds, which I have coined the “four horsemen” as these large holdings have really done a bang-up job in offsetting market losses on the year. Clients also have a few remaining loss buffer equity ETFs, but most have maxed out the 10% loss buffers and were liquidated into cash or CDs. Since we can invest in the entire universe of available CDs, we have used the rate increases to park more cash in short-term (1-3Mo) CDs yielding between 2.8%-3.3%. Then, after the expected Nov and Dec Fed hikes, we expect to take advantage of 5%+ CD yields in 5-year range maturities offer FDIC-insured guarantees.
September 30, 2022, Weekly Equity Market Recap. S&P 500 -2.9% week, -9.3% month, -4.88% third quarter (Q3) and -23.7% YTD while US Aggregate Bond Index -13.2% YTD. For the week, most of the bearish equity sentiment was driven by global economic issues of record-high German inflation and the U.K. government's defense of its tax cut plan. However, stateside, Initial jobless claims came in below consensus at the lowest level since April. This, in turn, drove bond yields higher (bonds lower) as the Fed's actions have yet to slow the labor market. Therefore, several Federal Reserve officials continue to support hiking rates and holding for longer. Wall Street analysts forecast the S&P 500’s earnings growth rate for the Q3 will be just 3.2%, which would be the lowest growth rate since Q3 in 2020. As we head into Q3 earnings season, companies like Nike (NKE), Meta Platforms (META), and CarMax (KMX) have indicated a worsening economic business climate ahead. Goldman Sachs recently slashed its year-end target for the S&P 500 to 3,600 (S&P 500 @3,585) from 4,300.