Last week jobless claims rose to 281,000. With the fast moving COVID-19 eviscerating demand, this is just the initial blast off of jobless claims. For those expecting a V-shape bottom, it is just way too early to call. Bill Gates believes the virus shutdown can last 10 weeks. This is going to be incredible strain on businesses.
The Fed Open Market Committee was set to meet this Tuesday and Wednesday and the market was expecting a 100bps rate cut to the emergency zero level. Instead, the Fed shocked the market with a Sunday rate cut of the expected 100bps and surprise announcement of a $700 billion bond buying program, aka Quantitative Easing 4. This certainly feels like a panic move by Chairman Jerome Powell and the Fed. A Sunday afternoon rate cut is unprecedented. The market didn't take it well with US futures opening limit down -5% and then stocks tumbled at the open to trigger a 15 minute pause in selling. What does it all mean for investors?
Back in January, I wrote a blog post when coronavirus, COVID-19, first appeared on the radar. There were just 600 cases and the Chinese government had already locked down Wuhan and neighboring cities. I was hopeful that with modern medicine and China's quick quarantine that the coronavirus could be contained. While the Chinese appear to have contained their cases, the rest of the world hasn't taken enough aggressive action to stop it in its tracks and now Western Europe is about to pass China in number of active cases! This is a frightening thought as only Italy has gone into lockdown and it did so at over 10k cases. The Europeans aren't taking enough action and this problem is spiraling out of control.
On Tuesday morning, the Fed stepped in and cut the Fed funds rate by 50bps in an emergency move to try and calm markets over coronavirus fears. Markets immediately spiked up but then sold off throughout the day. The market is expecting more rate cuts this month from the Fed and the ECB. For investors, the question is: can the central banks fight off the effects of coronavirus? The answer is yes and no.
Right now the media is obsessed with the coronovirus and fear is running rampant. Even my local school district in NJ had to comment on coronovirus despite there being only 60 cases in the entire United States and none in NJ. While we don't take this subject lightly, we do believe that this is providing one of the yearly "buy the fear" points, not a time to sell.
Last Friday, Chris Wang talked about the strong jobs reports and growth stocks, Luckin Coffee (ticker LK) and Activision Blizzard (ticker ATVI). Check out the videos to learn more. Hear what the strong jobs report means for the market and importantly what it means for the still very accomodative Fed. Also find out why Chris is excited about the prospects of LK and ATVI.
The bull market has paused for the past few days as fears of the coronavirus spread. The first case of the virus in the US has the media in a frenzy and now people are hyperfocused on the possible effects of the economy and investments. Should you be worried?
With stocks trading at all-time highs, many investors are sitting on significant capital gains and may have positions that become untradable because of the potential tax implications. Whether the stock has appreciated over many years or accumulated as a company executive, dealing with a stock with a huge unrealized gain can become a good problem to have.
This is one of my favorite posts to write every year as we get to look back on Wall Street predictions and see how they panned out. We have done this in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 so it is a tradition to see which strategists did well and which missed the mark.
Last year, the strategists predicted a bull market for 2019 with an average target of +13%, 2995, for the S&P 500. This target looked especially bullish because of the December 2018 selloff, but it turned out that only Deutsche Bank's Binky Chada was bullish enough with a target of 3250 -- the S&P 500 finished at 3230.78. Brian Belski collects honorable mention with a target of 3150. Now let's take a look at their thoughts on 2020...
In the past, the Fed announced their clear intention to use quantitative easing to stimulate the economy. They even named QE2, operation twist. This time, it has been much more stealth in nature. While the Fed has signaled its intention to pause on interest rate cuts, they have reversed course in shrinking their balance sheet and may instead drive it to new highs in 2020. This is clearly a short-term positive for risk assets and has sent the stock market to record highs.
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