Today the Federal Reserve is expected to hike rates for the 3rd time this year to 2.25%. This is good news for your savings account as you are likely to see a slight boost in your interest rates; but that is no guarantee as many major banks are still paying close to zero. More importantly, you may be wondering what impact the rate hike has on your investment portfolio, especially stocks. Is this a reason for concern?
The media is focused on Hurricane Florence and its path toward the Carolinas and Virginia. Being a category 4 hurricane with 130 mph sustained winds, over a million residents are subject to mandatory evacuation due to risk of life-threatening storm surge, dangerous winds, and flooding. Our government is warning residents to take protective measures. This week also marks the 10th anniversary of the Lehman Brothers collapse; yet in the financial industry, investors are often told to stay the course and ride out the storm. Can you suffer through another bear market like 2000 or 2008 when the S&P 500 fell over 50%?
Last Friday, August 31st, Runnymede managing partner Andy Wang returned to The Reuters Building in Times Square to chat with news anchor Fred Katayama. In this segment, Fred asks Andy about a variety of subjects including trade talks, emerging markets, and why Runnymede likes service sector companies.
Yes I am swept up in the hype of the release of the movie "Crazy Rich Asians." As an Asian-American, I am hyped to finally see a major motion picture with an all Asian cast which we haven't seen since 1993's Joy Luck Club. Please go out and support the film!
But today's blog post isn't about the film, but about S&P earnings season which I'm calling crazy rich earnings. We have been bullish on the market because of the extremely strong earnings coming out of corporate America. While others have been warning about valuations (for years), remember that no bear market was caused by solely by over-valuation. How good has earnings season been? Let's take a look.
Sometimes it is fun to look back and see who made the correct call on the markets. High profile investors make bold calls but are seldom held accountable for the bad ones. Yet, the media will go back to the "big" names year after year because they generate clicks for their ad dollars. Unfortunately this doesn't bode well for your investment portfolio if you take their newsworthy headlines as actual investment advice. Let's take a look back two years to the summer of 2016 when two of the most prominent investors Bill Gross and Jeffrey Gundlach were screaming SELL!
Today President Donald Trump has indicated that he is willing to slap tariffs on every Chinese good imported to the U.S. should the need arise. This is a shocking comment but likely only rhetoric. The stock market shrugged it off and the S&P 500 is flat on the day.
Michael Batnick wrote an article on The Irrelevant Investor blog entitled, "Should I Time the Market?" In it, he responded thoughtfully to a 30-something investor who posed a question about timing the market. Given where valuations are, and that he has many decades ahead of him, would it make sense to wait for a better pitch over the next five years? This is an excellent question that I think deserves further discussion.
Heading into 2018, I listened to many strategy calls from the leading Wall Street players and the consensus view was pounding the table on international stocks over US stocks. Their call was in favor of international because of cheaper valuations and long-term under-performance. This didn't sit well with me. Sure valuation is cheaper but there is a reason for it. The European economy has been recovering from significant issues with a deep Greek recession, the surprise Brexit, and Deutsche Bank whose stock is trading below its crisis 2009 low. Just this week, the ECB cut their growth forecasts and announced they will keep rates at record lows for at least another year.
After the historic low volatility seen in 2017, the first four months of 2018 have felt especially turbulent even though the market has largely moved sideways. The 24 hour news cycle has been louder and gives negative news more amplification. Worries this year have focused on the potential of trade war with China, rising inflation and interest rate hikes. While these are certainly legitimate concerns, we suggest to our clients and readers that you often need to turn off the news and simply focus on the fundamentals. The good news is that fundamentals from US corporations are still improving and point to a bull market that should continue to grind higher for the rest of the year.
The constituents of the S&P 500 are wrapping up an extremely strong 4th quarter earnings season. Even before tax reform kicks in, corporations reached record operating profit margins at 10.4%. Furthermore, companies beat on the top and bottom line with over 75% beating estimates which is an eight-year high. Looking ahead, it is no surprise that earnings revisions are trending higher across all sectors.
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