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NAVIGATING THE MARKETS 1/26

We are initiating a master limited partnership (MLP) view (neutral/positive) and introducing several new alternative investment categories. ƒƒUpgrading technology and industrials to positive and munis (int.) to neutral/positive.

Solid Earnings Season Spelled Out

While the certainty provided by an election outcome has been positive for the stock market over time, our positive stock market outlook is based much more on fundamentals. It does not get more fundamental than earnings, which are on track to grow by 10% year over year for the second straight quarter. Earnings season is not over, but with about 90% of S&P 500 companies having reported results, we are ready to declare it a success.

S&P Is Not GDP

It is important to recognize that the S&P 500 is not GDP. S&P 500 companies have different drivers for earnings than the components that drive GDP. The backdrop of solid business spending within a slower trajectory of overall GDP growth can be a favorable one for the stock market. Although stocks are at the low end of our target 10–15% S&P 500 return range for 2014, we see further gains between now and year end as likely, with profit growth as a primary driver.

Corporate Calm

We remain confident in corporate America’s ability to generate solid earnings growth in the current global economic environment despite the slowdown in Europe (and to a lesser extent, China). A number of U.S. companies have performed relatively well in Europe, with some not yet seeing signs of a slowdown in their business. The business environment overseas appears to be good enough for companies to largely maintain their outlooks for the rest of the year and into 2015.

Oil Hits the Skids

We believe the oil sell-off is overdone and expect the commodity to find a floor in the low $80s. We expect firming global growth to increase the market’s confidence in global oil demand despite weakness in Europe. Energy service stocks are particularly oversold and may be attractive as the services-intensive U.S. energy renaissance continues.

Pullback Perspective

We see the recent increase in volatility as normal within the context of an ongoing bull market. We do not believe the age of the bull market, at more than 5.5 years old, means it should end. We maintain our positive outlook for stocks for the remainder of 2014 and into 2015.

Earnings Preview: Welcomed Opportunity to Focus on the Micro

Earnings season is here and may counteract the negative headlines with another dose of positive fundamental news. We expect the third quarter of 2014 could produce another good earnings season, which we believe may positively impact stocks. While there are some headwinds, Europe in particular, the U.S. economic backdrop is supportive and profit margins should remain high, given the few signs of cost pressures.

Grading on a Curve (the Yield Curve, That Is)

The yield curve has a perfect record in signaling recessions over the past 50 years. One of our “Five Forecasters,” the yield curve tells us that a recession and significant market downturn are likely a ways off.

Don’t Fight the ECB? (Part 2 of 2)

Last week we discussed why buying European stocks now, following the recent stimulus announced by the ECB, is very different from buying U.S. stocks during periods of Fed stimulus in recent years. This week we take a deeper dive into the investment opportunity in Europe and evaluate fundamentals, valuations, and technicals. We recommend that investors “fight the ECB.” We do not believe the additional stimulus is enough for us to recommend European equities over U.S. equities at this time.

Don’t Fight the ECB? (Part 1 of 2)

Buying stocks after the various QE programs were announced by the Federal Reserve was generally a profitable decision for investors. To answer the question about whether the ECB programs will have the same impact on European stock markets, we point out some key differences between the United States then and Europe now.

Back to School With the Three Rs:

We believe the “three Rs” are keys to the outlook for the stock market: revenues (and profits), reinvestment, and the renaissance in manufacturing. We expect stocks to garner support from these three Rs in the form of continued growth in revenues and profits, more corporate reinvestment, and continued steady gains for the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Midterms May Mean More Gains for Stocks

The resolution of election uncertainty — and ending the predominantly negative rhetoric surrounding the campaigns — has historically been a positive for the stock market. We continue to see opportunities for further stock market gains over the course of 2014, based upon fundamentals rather than the potential for sweeping legislative change.

Ready, Set, HIKE!

The first rate hike by the Fed has never been an indication of a market peak. On average, the first rate hike has taken place 37% into the economic cycle (measured peak to peak). The S&P 500 has returned on average, another 58% after the first rate hike (price return) before the market peak for the economic cycle. The initial market reaction to a rate hike is, on average, negative, but the data show it pays to be invested.

Crystal Ball?

We believe the LEI is one of the better indicators to foreshadow recession. The latest information from the LEI suggests a positive backdrop for stocks and low risk of recession.

Turning Down the Noise

Volume has picked up during the recent downturn. No, we are not talking about trading volumes; we are talking about the volume from your TVs with talking heads warning about an impending stock market downturn. If you turn off the TV and focus on what the market is telling you, rather than the talking heads, you can tune out the noise.

Stock Market Valuations Suggest That This Bull Market Still Has Teeth

Losing under 3% in a week seems a minor concern given historical market ups and downs; nevertheless, investors may begin to wonder if stock market valuations are signaling a decline. Since the end of the last significant sell-off for stocks, the market has been in a pretty consistent upward trend. Valuation is a poor market-timing indicator; while valuation should always be considered, it is a blunt tool that should be taken into broader context.

Second Quarter Earnings Season Update

Amid the barrage of nearly constant economic and market data, nothing is more important to assess the health of corporate America than the quarterly check-in that we affectionately call earnings season. As earnings season approaches its halfway mark, it’s a good time to take a look at what we’ve learned so far.

Is Congress Contemplating QE4?

If a tax holiday is enacted and the repatriated funds by multinational corporations are used to buy back shares or retire debt, it could potentially act as a very potent market stimulus equivalent to the height of the Fed’s QE3.

Counting Down the Months

A common worry among investors is that the stock market may fall as the Fed gets closer to hiking rates. In fact, the S&P 500 has posted a gain in the 12 months ahead of the first rate hikes over the past 35 years.

Earnings Season: A Show About Nothing

Much like the television comedy Seinfeld, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this past Saturday, July 5, 2014, the second quarter earnings season is likely to be “a show about nothing.”

Investor’s Almanac Field Notes

Similar to a farming almanac, our Investor’s Almanac is a publication containing a guide to patterns, tendencies, and seasonal observations important to growing. The goal of farming is not merely to grow crops, but to sustain living things — investing shares the same goal.

World Cup and World CPI Are Heating Up, Risking Mistakes by Key Players

Just as the World Cup has been heating up, increasing the risk of player mistakes, the world consumer price index (CPI) has also been heating up, complicating the task for policymakers at the world’s central banks and increasing the risk of mistakes that could have market implications.

Emerging Opportunity

Emerging market stocks have now pulled ahead of the performance of the S&P 500 Index for 2014, which may finally mark the beginning of the turn for EM relative performance.

Who Are the Buyers and Sellers?

At the heart of it, all markets come down to buyers and sellers. Taking a look at who is buying and who is selling can tell us something about the durability of the market’s performance and what may lie ahead.

No Debate: Stock and Bond Markets Agree

No debate here: Over the past five years, modest declines in bond yields in the range of 0 – 50 basis points occurred along with modest gains of 0 – 10% for stocks.

Oil, Oil Everywhere

Why — if the United States is producing more oil and consuming less than it was a decade ago — is the price of oil going up, and what does it mean for investors?

Japan Going Godzilla

If Godzilla-sized quantitative easing aligns with a fading impact from recent tax hikes, increasing political support for corporate tax cuts, and a push by government pension funds into stocks, it may mean a blockbuster summer for Japanese stocks.

The Best Indicator May Be a Long Way From Signaling the Start of a Bear Market

The volatility we call “market storms” is likely to continue to be a characteristic of markets this year, caused by well-known factors, such as: geopolitical conflict in Russian border countries, slower economic growth in China, or a weak start to the year for the U.S. economy, among others, but also lesser-known factors like the Oklahoma earthquakes, solar flares disrupting communications, and the Ebola outbreak...

 
Results: 28 Articles found.
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