When the Federal Reserve raises rates by another quarter percentage point on Wednesday, you're going to see many stories about monetary policy getting tight and the potential threat that poses for the economy in general and the bull market in stocks in particular.
Forty years of behavioral science research provides a more realistic framework for viewing investors and markets than does MPT.
We are having a hard time finding high-quality companies at attractive valuations.
Goldilocks appears to be taking up residence on Wall Street, with modest growth, low inflation and a cautious Fed combining to make things "just right" for investors. Additionally, the apparent improving global trade trend could help contribute to further stock market gains and support large-cap outperformance. But the risk of a pullback and/or sharp acceleration in volatility is elevated courtesy of both domestic and world political uncertainty, and the potential of a Fed misstep.
We think there are ample catalysts for ongoing corporate earnings growth. Growth appears to be broadening to more cyclical parts of the economy, such as manufacturing, as well as outside the U.S. The political climate – including the outcome of the remaining elections across Europe and President Donald Trump’s political agenda – is evolving. We think it will be difficult to predict Trump’s next move, but think tax reform is likely to remain on the agenda this year.
In this issue: Equity market volatility exhibits an inverse relationship with stock/bond correlation. This is a benefit to managed risk funds; As a result of ongoing low volatility, managed risk funds have generally implemented their respective maximum equity allocations for most of 2017; and market-based measures.
The election of President Donald Trump in November created uncertainty for alternative energy investors due to his anti-environmental, pro-coal stance. His election puts the main alternative energy policies in the United States, such as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar installations, Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind installations and the Clean Power Plan (CPP), at risk. Recently, his anti-environmental stance was put in to action with an executive order to dismantle environmental protections.
Uncertainty about U.S. fiscal policy changes persists. Tax cuts and infrastructure spending proposals are on the table, but they are unlikely to be enacted in 2017. We continue to maintain skepticism about the timing and size of the fiscal policy boost to economic growth. In the meantime, the expansion continues on, unperturbed.
The financial markets continued to absorb major news events with surprising ease last week. Be it the tragedies in the U.K., the withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, or the weakness in Friday's employment data, the stock and bond markets both continued to edge higher. Investors seem to have become conditioned toward individual isolated disappointments all while the bigger picture is toward one of global economic growth and relative stability.