Market Scout – Trusting Our Instruments and Covid-19 Update
Like a pilot relying on a plane’s flight-control instruments during an unfamiliar route with poor visibility, we are depending more than ever on our fact-based, unemotional investment methods. The overwhelming majority of our investments are in companies that we believe are built to withstand harsh economic shocks. Only on the margin have we slightly increased our trading activity.
The Full Extent of Income Support for Impacted U.S. Households Is Impressive
Global equity index futures are trading up about 4% this morning. The coronavirus data over the weekend was less bad. The growth rate in new confirmed cases over the last 24 hours globally was the lowest since March 17—a welcome sign that containment measures are gaining some traction in slowing the spread of the disease.
Navigating the Maze of Models
Once again, no one cares about the economic calendar. There are a few items with recent data – jobless claims, mortgage applications, and Michigan sentiment – but most reports are old news. Everyone is focused on the increase in coronavirus cases and deaths. There are plenty of predictions, each based on model from a reputable source. The variation is wide.
World Markets Update
All eight indexes on our world watch list posted losses through April 6, 2020. The top performer is China's Shanghai with a loss of 9.38%. Our own S&P 500 is in second with a loss of 17.55% and in third is Hong Kong's Hang Seng with a loss of 17.57%. Coming in last is India's BSE SENSEX with a loss of 33.12%.
Actively Managed Funds Fail When Needed the Most
Advisors had little use for actively managed funds over the recent bull market; index funds did exceptionally well. But just when those actively managed funds were most needed – over the recent market downturn – they failed to protect investors.
Is the Market Still Overvalued?
Here is a summary of the four market valuation indicators we update on a monthly basis.
- The Crestmont Research P/E Ratio
- The cyclical P/E ratio using the trailing 10-year earnings as the divisor
- The Q Ratio, which is the total price of the market divided by its replacement cost
- The relationship of the S&P Composite price to a regression trendline
The Latest Look at the Total Return Roller Coaster
Here's an interesting set of charts that will especially resonate with those of us who follow economic and market cycles. Imagine that five years ago you invested $10,000 in the S&P 500. How much would it be worth today, with dividends reinvested but adjusted for inflation? The purchasing power of your investment has increased to $12,854 for an annualized real return of 5.03%.
The Coronavirus Broke the Weighing Machine
Legendary investor, Benjamin Graham, explained the stock market in the following way: “In the short run, the market is a voting machine, but in the long run, it’s a weighing machine.” Since the emergence of COVID-19, the weighing machine is broken.