Results 401–450 of 674 found.
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.
Joining the Dots: Fed Keeps Rates Unchanged While Lowering “Dots”
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) kept the fed funds rate unchanged from its 0-0.25% range, where it’s been since 2008. The decision was unanimous. The Fed did raise its assessment of the economy and labor market, which reinforces the view—shared by us—that the Fed will begin hiking rates in September, barring a significant change in the trajectory of the economy, jobs or inflation. It would be the first interest rate increase in almost 10 years.
Tug of War
The current stalemate in the US market could continue for some time, with bouts of volatility and pullbacks expected as the market anticipates the initial rate hike. Be prepared by staying diversified and consider buying protection, but we would view such an event as the pause that refreshes and help set up the next sustainable bull run. Investors should also look overseas as the aggressive stimulus measures being taken by the ECB appear to be beneficially impacting the economy, and may help equities perform better in the coming months.
No Quarter: GDP Goes Into Reverse Again
Although last week was shortened by the Memorial Day holiday, it was busy on the economic front. Last in, first out: The expected downward revision to first quarter real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) brought it into negative territory, for a reading of -0.7%—albeit better than the -0.9% consensus expectation. More on that in a minute.
Schwab Market Perspective: As the World Turns
A market that grinds higher isn’t all bad as it allows time for earnings to catch up to prices; but complacency must be reined in. Sharp movements could and should come as we move closer to a potential Federal Reserve rate hike. We believe the US economy will rebound from the weak soft first quarter, helping to support stocks and a rate hike, but the turn needs to gain traction. Meanwhile, Congressional approval of fast track trade authority could pave the way for improvements in the Japanese recovery.
Watching and Waiting
Patience can be tough, especially in investing, but that is what is needed at the present time. While a sharp upward move in equities seems unlikely, and the risk of pullbacks is elevated; a grind higher is not something most investors should miss out on. Economic data and the Fed will continue to be in the spotlight, and we expect improvement that will lead to both a Fed rate hike and increased equity volatility—so be prepared. Across the pond, political uncertainty exists, but money supply should be the main focus, which could bode well for the possibility of future European equity gain
Who Is Afraid of the Inflation Ogre?
When many commentators and investors show a high conviction about something, it is perhaps a good time to explore how things could move in the opposite direction. After several trillions of quantitative easing (QE) from the major global central banks, and with trillions of QE likely ahead, the consensus appears spooked by the specter of global disinflation and deflation. The possibility of a higher inflation scenario seems to have fallen completely off the radar.
Schwab Market Perspective: Heads, Bulls Win; Tails, Bears Lose?
The bears can’t seem to grab hold of this market, but that doesn’t mean full-speed ahead for the bulls either. Grinding generally higher with increased volatility seems to be the course for now, but the possibility of a correction still exists. Diversification, discipline and patience is required. International equity exposure should be part of most investors’ portfolios, to a level commiserate with risk tolerance. European risks related to Greece seem to have lessened, while the Chinese stock market doesn’t appear grossly overvalued, although a pullback from the recent run is possi
House of the Rising Sun: Is Housing Staging a Turn for the Better?
Economic data has been mixed-to-weak over the past few months; but some of the housing-related data has perked up and could be a bright spot for the economy in the medium-term. Some recent highlights include single-unit permits, pending and new home sales, mortgage applications, building materials sales, anecdotal strength via the Fed’s Beige Book, and the well-watched Housing Market Index (HMI), put out by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Slip Sliding Sideways
Volatility will likely continue and more sideways action could be in store for the US equity market. We believe US economic data will start to rebound, helping push stocks higher in the second half of the year. The Fed remains in focus, but a rate hike is not likely until the latter half of 2015, which has helped slow the dollar’s upward momentum; potentially comforting the market and letting businesses better react. Better near-term opportunities may exist overseas as the Eurozone economy is improving and Japan seems poised to rebound from soft data.
Running to Stand Still: Wild Swings Taking Market Nowhere
Stocks have gone 28 trading days without back-to-back gains; a very unique experience historically. Uncertainty abounds, associated with Fed policy, economic surprises on the weak side, and earnings which have dropped into negative territory. Investor sentiment is swinging more wildly than is normally the case.
Will a Spring Thaw Lead to a Stock Surge?
US economic data has been soft, repeating a trend we’ve seen in recent first quarters. But we believe growth will again bounce back as some of the temporary weights drop off. US stocks should continue to grind generally higher—but with heightened volatility—aided by better data and a still-dovish Federal Reserve. But investors shouldn’t ignore international opportunities. Global growth generally appears to be improving and foreign central banks are largely easing monetary policy, potentially benefiting risk assets.
Will Dipping Data Lead To Dramatic Drop?
US stocks have been resilient, although there has been an uptick in volatility. Economic data has shown some softening, but we believe it is temporary in nature. However, the risk of a correction is elevated in our view and investors should be prepared for such a possibility by having a diversified portfolio and keeping a close eye on rebalancing opportunities after pullbacks. Meanwhile, investors should also look overseas for global diversification opportunities as monetary policy easing should help to bolster asset values.
Trampled Under Foot: Earnings Estimates Crushed; But Not Stocks
The pace of earnings estimate cuts by Wall Street analysts and companies has been well sharper than the norm, suggesting the bar has now been set so low as to make it easier to hurdle. That’s what investors can hope for heading into the next earnings season; but the risk around earnings and valuation is unquestionably higher than it’s been in some time.
Rhyming…but not Repeating.
Stocks have recovered their January losses and have continued to move higher. While economic growth remains solid and we remain secular bulls, investors should be prepared for increased volatility and the potential for a near-term correction. Also, European stocks may be due for at least a pause and we suggest looking to add exposure to emerging market positions if needed. Staying well diversified and keeping an eye on rebalancing is the recommended strategy.
Self-Sustaining US Economy…So What Now?
The US economy appears to be in a self-sustaining phase of the expansion, which could mean more volatility as the Fed embarks on a tightening cycle. We remain confident the secular bull market is intact, but volatility has risen and we suggest investors who are over-exposed to US equities consider global diversification, with a preference for emerging markets. Europe appears to be stealthily improving, but Greece remains a flash point and Eurozone equity markets may have gotten ahead of themselves a bit.
Should I Stay or Should I Go: Global Diversification Could be 2015’s Winner
Last year ended on a weak note for US equities; and January continued the trend; Divergences will remain a theme and likely keep volatility elevated; US investors haven’t felt the need to diversify globally…they should
Diverging Policies…Converging Economies?
The US economy should continue to expand but faces headwinds with weak global growth and a strengthening dollar leading to diverging central bank policies. Volatility has risen and the potential for a correction in the near term appears more likely. Nonetheless, timing the market in the shorter-term is dangerous, while the longer-term picture still looks positive for US equities. Across the pond, we remain skeptical much can be accomplished with the ECB’s QE program and continue to favor emerging markets over developed internationally. We also believe global diversification is becomin
Levitate: More Market Mood Swings in 2015?
Secular bull market is likely intact, but 2015 could bring more volatility associated with Fed policy and/or global events. Longer-term sentiment suggests the ?wall of worry? is intact; but shorter-term sentiment is more troubling. Falling oil and rising dollar have generated loads of questions from clients ? history tells a generally positive story.
Your Time is Gonna Come: From Considerable Time to Patient
Regardless of the obsession around the specific words used, the statement is somewhat par-for-the-course; and supports our consistent view that rates should begin rising at some point in mid-year 2015, that the US dollar will remain strong, and that the yield curve should continue to flatten (as a result of benign inflation keeping longer-term rates fairly low). Although our view is that the stock market will be at the mercy of more frequent mood swings, the secular bull market we believe began nearly six years ago should persist in 2015.
Glancing Back but Focusing Forward
The US stock market appears set for further gains into at least the first half of next year, although risks are elevated with valuations no longer discounted and looming rate hikes. There is hope that ongoing easy monetary policy by global central banks can help to bolster economic activity is areas such as the Eurozone, China, and Japan. But we are somewhat skeptical about stock market performance in developed international countries and favor emerging markets to start out the New Year.
Dont You Worry bout a Thing: Tell That to Individual Investors!
Some attitudinal measures of investor sentiment show troublingly high levels of optimism. Longer-term sentiment surveys that separate individuals from institutions show something much, much different. These longer-term surveys suggest theres little risk that the wall of worry the market likes to climb is crumbling.
Rolling AlongFor Now
We remain optimistic that US stocks will likely continue to move higher, but warn against getting overly complacent as a pullback is always a possibility. The US economy is improving, the Fed is erring on the side of dovishness, and both corporate and consumer confidence are growing. The fall in oil should be a net positive for the US and global economy, and we are in a traditionally seasonally positive time of the year for equities. Global economies remain weak, but we are seeing a glimmer of hope from stepped up responses from foreign central banks.
Ben Bernanke: Too Big to Fail
I shared the stage at Schwabs IMPACT conference recently with former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke (a goose-bumpy experience). He was remarkably funny; but also firm in his views about the merits of the Feds extraordinary efforts to stem the tide of the financial crisis. Notably, he strongly pushed back on the notion that QE is an inflation accident waiting to happen.
Results 401–450 of 674 found.