Results 401–450 of 698 found.
Schwab Market Perspective: Summer of Discontent?
As amusement park visits rise in the summer months, the ever-popular roller coaster analogy seems appropriate for the stock market. Since the beginning of 2015, stocks have had some fairly major ups and downs, but we now sit about where we began. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy for investors to get off the ride, and we expect the frustrating, grinding environment to continue for the near future. Equities have yet been unable to break through to new highs, while fixed income continues to offer little in terms of yield.
Are the Glory Days of Job Growth Over?
It was more like a gory day for job growth in May. And if there is one thing that’s clear about last Friday’s dismal employment report its that the Federal Reserve sees the data at the same time as the rest of us mere mortals. How else would you explain the recent breathless chattering from every variety of FOMC (Federal Open Mouth Committee) member about another imminent rate hike? Never mind…at least this month. The July FOMC (it really stands for Federal Open Market Committee) meeting may still be considered on the table, but unless job growth accelerates from here, it’s more likely to be pushed to September.
Stocks Stuck in the Muck
The running-to-stand-still pattern in U.S. equities may continue, with bouts volatility expected. But U.S. economic growth appears to be improving and stocks could start to sniff out a potentially better second half for both the economy and earnings. Investors should remain patient, and use volatility as opportunities to rebalance around normal strategic allocations in both U.S. and international equities.
Sympathy for the Devil in the Details of Wage Growth
The Fed appears itchy to raise rates again, but concerns about sluggish wage growth remain pervasive. Traditional wage growth measures in conflict with newer forms which take mix shifts into consideration. Apples-to-apples wage growth measures show a healthier picture.
Corporate Caution…Global Recession?
Uncertainty among investors and companies has resulted in equities failing to push to new highs…for now. We remain fairly confident that stocks will reach new records, but patience in the near term is required. And selling in May doesn’t appear to be a great strategy for long-term investors as global yield curves are indicating low odds of a global recession. Perhaps hold in May is more apt. Bouts of volatility are likely to persist in light of uncertainty over Fed policy, the upcoming election, and global growth concerns.
Against the Wind: The Sentiment-Driven Rally Could Take a Breather
The late-great Marty Zweig—one of my bosses from 1986 to 2009—was a pioneer in investor sentiment indicators. He was often asked to share his single favorite indicator, and he typically cited “Time and Newsweek cover stories.” Note this was a pre-Internet, pre-social media era, and what he was referring to was the tendency for those two mainstream publications to put bulls or bears on their respective covers in the same week. With nearly perfect timing, when both mags put bears on their covers, the bear market typically in place was likely ending or over. Conversely, when both mags put bulls on their covers, the bull market typically in place was likely ending or over.
Expectations and inflection points matter in investing, often more so than the overall level of any given data set. The besting of low expectations has helped stocks to move higher, but the bar has been raised so we continue to suggest a neutral allocation toward U.S. stocks. Globally, currency moves have played a large part in determining stock market action, and some calming in the currency markets could help stabilize global markets.
Sign O’ the Times: Sell in May and Go Away?
As most readers know, I always title my reports with a fitting song title. Sadly, this year I’ve opted to choose one to honor a fallen music legend, like David Bowie and Glen Frey. This week, it’s an ode to the late-great Prince—a life gone too soon.
The Soft and Frustrating Middle
Patience and discipline. Those are the two words to commit to memory in the face of the current environment. A sluggish expansion and a cautious corporate environment leads us to have a neutral view on equities, which means investors should stick with their longer-term objectives and remain committed to their plan. There are glimmers of hope domestically and globally with strong U.S. job growth and U.S. and global manufacturing looking better.
Recession: Your Time is Gonna Come … But Not Yet
Two events recently triggered renewed concerns about a U.S. economic recession. The first was the continued deterioration in Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model—now down to only 0.1% for expected first quarter real gross domestic product (GDP) growth, after being as high as 2.7% in early February. The second was the pronouncement of a pending “very massive recession” by presidential candidate Donald Trump. Shortly after the latter I tweeted that there was little indication we were headed into a “very massive recession,” and boy did that elicit a very massive response from fellow tweeters. Many agreed that a severe recession was unlikely; but at least as many took the Trump side of the argument—with much “passion” I might add.
What a Quarter! What’s Next?
The first quarter was the proverbial roller coaster, with stocks experiencing extreme volatility, but ultimately ending up back where they started. We continue to believe U.S. stocks are in a secular bull market; but in a more mature phase which will be dotted with volatility and pullbacks. Corporate earnings likely need to recover before stocks can move demonstrably higher. More clarity from the Fed and a better political environment would help, but both seem unlikely in the near term. However, a more dovish tone from the Fed has aided in some recent dollar weakening, which has boosted emerging markets’ performance. While it is an encouraging development, stay disciplined and diversified as we watch to see if global growth can improve.
Echo: Are Stocks Getting Back in Cycle?
The stock market has familiar cycles dating back to at least the 1960s. The visual below (and the accompanying detailed set of tables below that) highlights these cycles and their direction. Each box in the graphic below shows the median return and duration for the seven of these cycles we’ve seen since 1968; but also the return and duration for the most recent phase of the current cycle. The cycles utilize the bull and bear market definitions pioneered by Ned Davis Research (NDR), which are more nuanced than the simple +20%/-20% traditional definition.
Schwab Market Perspective: Sigh of Relief
Beaten down areas of the market have staged a nice turnaround. Stocks have moved well off the lows and the S&amp;P 500 is now within shouting distance of the flatline for the year. Areas of the market that were some of the hardest hit—such as materials, energy and financials—have posted some of the best gains over the past month.
Seven: Happy Anniversary Bull Market (?)
Last week we celebrated the seventh anniversary of the U.S. bull market, which commenced on March 9, 2009 and has since generated a total return for the S&P 500 of 247%. The traditional gift for the seventh anniversary is copper, which is fitting since the strong rally many “risk-on” assets have staged since U.S. stocks bottomed on February 11, has been accompanied (driven?) by a surge in commodities, including copper and more importantly oil.
Schwab Market Perspective: Neutral Does Not Mean Boring
There are two ways to get to a neutral color: 1) just pick the boring beige that we’re all familiar with, or 2) mix a bunch of wild colors together and end up with an altogether bland sort of color—vastly different inputs but relatively the same result. Recently, stocks have resembled the latter scenario as stock indexes have moved out of correction territory but have remained quite volatile, with triple-digit Dow moves more common than not.
Good Times Bad Times…and Lots in Between
In the world of investing, apocalyptic scenarios abound. You can fit the extreme optimists in a thimble. We sit somewhere in the middle—having had a neutral rating on U.S. stocks since the beginning of 2015. It’s certainly more adrenaline-inducing to have a high-conviction extreme view, but investing is typically more gray than it is black or white. But admit it—you are often more intrigued by the apocalyptic scenario.
Schwab Market Perspective: Confidence is Key
There are many words that could be used to describe the first six weeks of 2016 with regard to stock performance but given that this is a family publication we’ll stick with frustrating. There have been rebounds, including the latest fierce recovery which has taken US stocks out of correction mode; but a lot of confidence has been shattered. These are the times that can make or break an investing plan. Our long-held mantra is that panic is not an investing strategy and that investing should always be a disciplined process over time; never about decisions at moments in time.
How Will Low Oil Prices Affect Municipal Bonds?
We suggest using caution if you're considering investing in bonds issued by a municipality that relies heavily on the oil-and-gas industry—such as areas in Texas and Oklahoma, parts of Wyoming, and western Pennsylvania. We don't believe low oil prices will lead to widespread defaults, but an extended period of low oil prices could lead to ratings downgrades and lower prices for outstanding bonds.
Q&A with Liz Ann Sonders: What’s Behind the Recent Market Volatility?
Global markets have been unusually volatile so far this year, including during the past few trading sessions. In light of the market's downward moves, we sat down with Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Strategist for Charles Schwab & Co., to get her take on the recent market action and economic news.
Watching and Waiting
Don’t just do something, sit there! Not panicking can be tough to do in times of increased volatility, but often the best advice to avoid emotional decisions. We continue to expect severe bouts of volatility at least until the trajectory of the U.S. and global economy is more definitive. In the meantime, the Fed is likely to become more dovish in the near-term, which could stabilize the volatility. Recent results for global PMI readings are relatively encouraging and certainly argue against the apocalyptic forecasts so prevalent today.
Life in the Fast Lane: Look Through the Windshield, Not the Rear View Mirror
The recession drumbeat has picked up tempo, which is to be expected given the signal coming from several market-based indicators, the contraction in manufacturing, and the anemic reading on (the lagging) fourth quarter U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Notwithstanding the sharp equity market rally late last week, the market has certainly been ringing the alarm bell, with the worst January start to a year since 2009. But remember, there is an apt and famous phrase on Wall Street: “The stock market has called nine of the past five recessions.”
Looking for Answers
It can be difficult to stay calm during market declines, but reacting emotionally is rarely beneficial. Investors need to maintain discipline and keep long-term goals in mind. Risks have risen for the U.S. and global economy, but neither a domestic nor global recession appears to be on the imminent horizon. But oil likely needs to stabilize to stem some of the recent volatility. Stay calm, and don’t overreact to the short-term gyrations in the market.
Changes: Turn and Face the Strange (Market)
The S&P 500 is down 8% since the year began, the worst two-week start to a year ever. There have only been five other years since 1928 when the index fell by more than 5% in the first 10 trading days of the year. As shown in the B.I.G. table below, looking back at the five worst yearly starts, the returns for the rest of January were mixed, while the rest of year returns were more positive (dramatically so in three cases). The only dud was during the financial crisis in 2008.
Questions for the New Year
We continue to believe that U.S. and global stocks will continue to experience bouts of volatility and pullbacks; but a major bear market is likely to be avoided. Key determinants of the path stocks will take include central bank policy, inflation, currency volatility and earnings/valuation. We continue to reinforce the benefits of broad and global asset class diversification during a more difficult market environment.
Back to Zero: Market’s Flat Return Masks Underlying Pressures
It was indeed a “running to stand still” market this year (a U2 song title I used for one of my reports last spring to describe the market). The S&P finished 2015 nearly flat at -0.7%, but only Rip Van Winkle would have thought it was a calm year. The return, or lack thereof, belied the angst investors were feeling for much of the year. There are precedents for flat years, and in this short update, we’ll look at what it meant in the past for the future.
Said the Fed to the Markets, “Take a Hike”
The initiation of rate hikes removes the uncertainty around the start date obviously; but does not remove the uncertainty around the path of rate hikes from here. We believe this will remain a focus by investors in 2016; and is likely to contribute to some of the volatility we believe will persist across the equity and fixed income markets.
What Was, What Is, and What May Be
With some international central banks expanding their easing programs, assets in areas such as Europe, Japan and general emerging markets look relatively attractive and most investors should have exposure to those regions in a diversified portfolio.
Devil Inside, Redux: Another Look at the Variety of U.S. Market Valuation Metrics
I’ve written many times about equity market valuation being both in the eye of the beholder and a function of the chosen indicator. Even the most common valuation metric—the price/earnings (P/E) ratio—has many derivations. The table in this report is a summary of most of the common (and somewhat less common) valuation metrics, and a subjective assessment of whether they are sending an inexpensive or expensive message about the stock market presently.
Stocks have pulled back after their rip higher in October, which we believe is healthy and in keeping with our expectation of continued volatility. The US economic picture is mixed, but the recent robust labor report boosted the odds of a December Fed rate hike. Finally, while difficult to think about financial matters in the face of such horrific events as the Paris attack, the resilience of both people and economies around the world should give us all hope for the future.
Wave of Sorrow: Will the Horrors in Paris Keep the Fed on Hold?
It’s always with a heavy heart that we, as analysts with responsibilities to our investors, attempt to divine the implications for markets of past and present terrorist attacks. The horrific events of Friday in Paris are yet again a reminder of the fragility of what we so often take for granted. Our prayers go out to all those impacted by such a senseless set of acts.
The Markets’ Teddy Bear
The sharp market gains seen over the last month are unlikely to persist at the same pace, and investors should be prepared for more volatility. Uncertainty about interest rates will persist, but the US economy continues to chug along at a decent, although not robust, pace. Similarly, global growth seems to be perking up, and helping to stymie predictions of an impending global recession. There are still pressures on global growth, but we believe the upside surprise potential in Europe should benefit stocks in that region.
December: Did the Fed Open the Door Wider for a Hike?
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) issued a more hawkish statement last week alongside its decision to keep interest rates unchanged. The forward guidance section of the statement was worded (emphasis mine) to focus on "whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at the next meeting." And although it waxed more dovish on employment, it dropped the line from the prior meeting’s statement about global developments, which the FOMC had specifically cited as a reason to hold rates steady in September.
Schwab Market Perspective: Bulls, Bears…and Hippos?
When trying to describe our view of the market, we realized that bullish and bearish were quite limiting and could cause confusion. Bullish, for example, could mean anything from skyrocketing markets to very modest gains—one word, very different environments. So, we are introducing a new animal descriptor that should more accurately describe our view of the stock market—the hippo. While not initially obvious, we think this is the perfect descriptor, and who doesn’t love hippos?
Chart Toppers: Diversification, China and the Fed’s Dual Mandate
From time to time, instead of diving into a singular topic in these reports, I am going to do a“Chart Toppers” review, where I share some of the more interesting and relevant charts I’ve put together or seen on a variety of topics.
Fourth Quarter Comeback?
A disappointing year to this point for the US stock market has a chance to end on a better note, with good seasonality and a still-growing economy as supports. Consumers are in good shape, the Fed remains accommodative, and the much-larger service side of the US economy is still healthy. But Fed uncertainty, Congressional budget battles, and Chinese growth concerns will remain as headwinds and will likely contribute to continued bouts of volatility. Across the pond, the European fight against deflation appears to be working, although more QE may be needed, to the potential benefit of Europe/
Under Pressure: Earnings Recession Warning; Economic Recession Watch
Many of the questions I’ve been getting recently at client events are around earnings, and whether the expected move into negative territory for earnings growth is a signal of a pending economic recession.
Are the Bulls Regaining Their Footing?
Uncertainty surrounding the Federal Reserve continues after its punt of rate hikes at its most recent meeting. But as the market gets more clarity on monetary policy and given a still-growing US economy, the bull market should slowly reestablish itself, albeit with bouts of volatility. Further support should come from global growth in areas that are net beneficiaries of the plunge in commodity prices.
Logical Song: What to Make of Record Buybacks
A common question I’ve been getting at client events lately is about stock buybacks and the effect they’re having on earnings-per-share (EPS); as well as what they say about the economy overall and investor/business psychology.
When Doves Cry … Yeah! Fed Punts and Keeps Rates Unchanged
The Fed opted to stall on raising rates for the first time since 2006; primarily citing global turmoil and still-restrained inflation for its decision. In addition, the accompanying Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement was not as hawkish as many expected (meaning, those who had been expecting no hike, were also expecting a more hawkish statement).
Schwab Market Perspective: Now What?
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”—Mike Tyson. We don’t often quote Mike Tyson, but his words resonate lately. Investors are wondering what to do—buy the dips, sell the rallies, or sit tight? First, investment decisions should never be made on emotion, which tends to dominate at times like this. It can be difficult to stomach moves such as we’ve seen recently. But investors who have an investing plan in place should indeed just sit there, let things calm down, and continue with the plan already put in place.
Dog Days Are Over: What a Week!
Volatility … and the volatility of volatility … hit record levels last week. We believe this is just a correction; not the beginning of a new bear market. Weeks like last week provide valuable lessons for investors about crowd psychology and the benefits of diversification and rebalancing.
Schwab’s Perspective on Recent Market Volatility
Global markets may have swung wildly in recent days, but we think the recent selloff in stocks and commodities is not a sign of imminent global recession. However, it may prompt the Federal Reserve (Fed) to postpone raising U.S. interest rates for a while longer. In the meantime, the basics of successful investing remain the same: Sticking to your long-term investment plan and maintaining a well-diversified portfolio should help you weather the market storm.
Panic Is Not a Strategy—Nor Is Greed
Admittedly, the development of a long-term strategic asset allocation plan isn't the hard part—it's sticking to it that often becomes the real challenge. Adding to underperforming asset classes and trimming outperforming asset classes goes against the emotions of fear and greed that often drive investment decision making. But if we learn from our mistakes, use our brains over our hearts and look to our portfolios as rebalancing guides, we can expect a more successful investing future and maybe even get a free lunch along the way.
Schwab’s Perspective on Recent Market Volatility
Global financial markets endured their worst week of the year this past week amid concerns over slowing economic growth and currency woes in China and other emerging markets, among other reasons. At times like these it is easy to start thinking short term, but keep in mind that the foundations of investing success are well established (have a plan, keep a close eye on expenses, stay diversified, and make sure your portfolio composition is lined up with your tolerance for risk and the timetable for when you’ll need to start drawing down the portfolio).
The Tortoise Wins Again?
The narrow trading range for US stocks continues, but there are some concerning signs such as seasonality and technical issues that make us a bit more cautious in the near term. We don’t think the bull market is in danger of ending, but there could certainly be a pullback and we don’t believe investors need to be in a great hurry to put money to work. In the immediate aftermath, China’s move on its currency rattled markets, but we don’t think it’s the start of a currency war, and hope that this is part of a herky-jerky path to freer markets.
Schwab Market Perspective: The Calm Between the Storms
Peak earnings season is behind us, Greece is not in imminent danger of exiting the euro, Europeans have headed out on vacation and the US Congress won’t be far behind. After a volatile start, the US market appears to be settling into a more typical summer pattern—for now.
The Song Remains the Same? Higher Rates Don’t Typically Kill Bull Markets
Because we don’t anticipate any fireworks—or even notable news—out of the July Federal Reserve meeting, we are not publishing a dedicated report on the meeting or the accompanying statement. However, we are keenly aware of the attention on the Fed and the likelihood it begins raising short-term term interest rates this year. Our view remains that September is the most likely month, barring any significant change in the trajectory of job growth in the next two months.
Schwab Market Perspective: Slow Summer?!
Summer is supposed to be a time of slow trading, light news, and an opportunity for vacations. But the past several weeks have been anything but slow. Greece—a country representing 0.38% of the world economy based on gross domestic product (GDP), has dominated attention; China’s recent stock market plunge also dented sentiment among US investors. It’s meant the “running to stand still” characteristic of this year’s first half is persistent. In fact, the first half of the year saw the S&P 500 trade in its narrowest range in history.
Independence Day?: “Greferendum” on July 5 Rocks Markets
“Greferendum”… the new “it” word of the day. In the United States, we celebrate Independence Day on July 4; but investors today are more interested in whether the following day will mark an independence day for Greece. As last week came to a close, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras walked away from talks with his country’s creditors and announced a referendum scheduled for July 5.
Not Too Hot…
Despite the narrow range for US stocks this year, things can change quickly. We believe volatility will pick up over the next several months as we head toward the Fed’s initial rate hike. Across the pond, the best we may be able to hope for with regard to Greece is another “kick-the-can” solution. But any potential damage should be relatively contained due to the work done in the Eurozone over the past five years.
Results 401–450 of 698 found.