Here are some key highlights from our latest messaging:
...like we keep saying with regard to corporate earnings:"On balance, the LEI and other recession indicators are likely to continue sending a recessionary signal in the coming months. Meanwhile, aggregate earnings forecasts remain too optimistic and have room to be revised lower."
Hence, the chart we featured in yesterday's note (LEI/CEI ratio in white, SP500 earnings in orange):
So, if there's one graph (other than the one for our own index) that illustrates what has us not yet believing this year's rally in equities, it's this one (the Leading Economic Indicator/Coincident Economic Indicator Ratio):
...cyclical sectors are outperforming defensives as if we're bolting out of a recession (that never was) -- (that's healthcare, staples and utilities below the red zero line on the next graph):
Well.... hmm... Either it's indeed blue skies dead ahead, or equity market actors are getting a tad bit complacent (if not overconfident) amid what remains a pretty precarious setup... For the moment, we'll presume the latter, but we'll remain open to all possibilities.
Yesterday's action very much jibed with our near-term thesis for the equity market... I.e., data releases (save for mortgage apps) were resoundingly weak (recessionary even), while Fed speakers -- even the doves -- reiterated that the tightening cycle still has a ways to run: emphasis mine...Harker (dove): "...reiterating comments he made last week, said increases of 25 basis points would be appropriate going forward. “I think we get north of 5 - again we can argue whether it’s 5.25% or 5.5% - but we sit there for a while,”"Logan (dove): "“A slower pace is just a way to ensure we make the best possible decisions,” Logan told an event at the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business. “We can and, if necessary, should adjust our overall policy strategy to keep financial conditions restrictive even as the pace slows.”"Bullard (hawk): "“We’re almost into a zone that we could call restrictive - we’re not quite there yet,” Bullard said in an online Wall Street Journal interview, explaining that price pressures remain too high and officials must not “waver” on bringing them steadily down to the Fed’s 2% target.
“Policy has to stay on the tighter side during 2023” as the
disinflationary process unfolds, he added, saying that he
penciled in a forecast for a rate range of 5.25% to 5.5% by the end of this year in the Fed’s December dot plot of projections."Mester (hawk): "“We’re beginning to see the kind of actions that we need to see,” Mester said in an interview with The Associated Press published Wednesday. “Good signs that things are moving in the right direction.”
Mester didn’t disclose how big a rate increase she favored
when officials next meet, but stressed that she wants rates to keep moving higher."
Yeah, no love right here for stocks from the Fed.
Asian stocks leaned green overnight, with China shuttered this week for the lunar holiday... 8 of the 13 open markets we track closed higher.
Europe's mostly green as well so far this morning, with 13 of the 19 bourses we follow trading up as I type.
While, the S&P and Nasdaq are up to start the session, sector breadth is suffering notably (financials, utilities, industrials, staples and materials are all trading lower): Dow down 57 points (0.17%), SP500 up 0.17%, SP500 Equal Weight down 0.04%, Nasdaq 100 up 0.85%, Nasdaq Comp up 0.77%, Russell 2000 down 0.08%.
The VIX sits at 19.18, up 0.52%.
Oil futures are up 1.83%, gold's down 0.63%, silver's down 0.14%, copper futures are up 0.02% and the ag complex (DBA) is up 1.155%.
The 10-year treasury is down (yield up) and the dollar is up 0.25%.
Among our 36 core positions (excluding options hedges, cash and short-term bond ETF), 14 -- led by Albemarle, Nokia, Dutch Bros, ag futures and Amazon -- are in the green so far this morning. The losers being led lower by metals miners, AT&T, oil services stocks, MP Materials and Brazil equities.
"Of course, nearly everything changes over time. This includes your emotional state, how much money you make, or the political climate. Paradigms shift, challenges change, market conditions evolve, and technology provides additional solutions as well as creating new problems. When you look forward from the present, status quo bias distorts your view."
--Duke, Annie. How to Decide
Have a great day!