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?
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.
"If we’re both going crazy, then we’ll go crazy together, right?" — Mike, Stranger Things
In today's world, it feels like we are all going crazy when you deal with the upside down world of negative interest rates. While negative rates haven't landed in the US yet, the 30-year Treasury rate fell below 2% for the first time ever. It is likely inevitable that we will have to deal with the situation in the not too distant future. So what is life like in the upside down?
Back in 2016, we wrote "Watch out! Negative interest rate policy is coming to the US sooner than later." To us, the future feels inevitable with virtually all the other developed nations in negative territory again in 2019. PIMCO's Joachim Fels echoed this thought saying that it's "no longer absurd to think that the nominal yield on U.S. Treasury securities could go negative."
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Runnymede Capital Management, Inc.-"Runnymede"), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Runnymede. Please remember that if you are a Runnymede client, it remains your responsibility to advise Runnymede, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Runnymede is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Runnymede's current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request. Please Note: Runnymede does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to Runnymede's web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.