The stock market is on a tear. The S&P 500 rose 19.4% in 2017 excluding dividends, and is already up over 4% in 2018. It's not a bubble or a sugar high. Our capitalized profits model, says the broad U.S. stock market, is, and was, undervalued.
At the height of this eight-year bull market, we are trying to reconcile the notion that the markets and the global economy may be “as good as it gets” with the potential that as a result of technological change and increased market volatility, “the best may be yet to come.”
Challenging conventional wisdom is a mainstay of financial conference speakers. I have seen few do so as effectively as Dylan Grice, who dismissed three mainstays of accepted beliefs, most notably that the value premium will deliver risk-adjusted outperformance.
Fear of overvaluation – particularly for U.S. equities – has driven far too many investors to miss the strong bull market. For market bears to be proven right, according to Albert Edwards, it will take one or more of several triggers.
The Osterweis Total Return Fund (OSTRX) seeks to preserve capital and attain long-term total returns through a combination of current income and moderate capital appreciation. The fund invests primarily in investment-grade securities and employs tactical shifts in sector allocation, interest rate/yield curve risk and credit quality, attempting to capture return across credit, interest rate and volatility cycles. Its inception date was 12/30/16 and it is managed by lead manager Eddy Vataru.
Emerging markets and commodities present the best investment opportunities for this year, according to Jeffrey Gundlach. Those to avoid include the S&P 500, which he claims will show a loss for 2018. His larger warning was that most of the good news on the economic front is already priced into the capital markets.
Bonds have been in a "bull market" for the past thirty-seven years. Not every quarter, or every month, but bond yields have fallen consistently since Paul Volcker ended the inflation of the 1970s.
Over the next six months, 34% of financial advisors will be increasing their allocations to actively managed non-U.S. equity funds by more than 3%. Advisor Perspectives obtained this data from a survey conducted over the last month, for which it received responses from 778 advisors.
Have profit margins risen to a permanently higher plateau? Are average Americans better off than they were a generation ago? I had the opportunity to discuss those questions, which are centrally important to investing and economic policy, with Jeremy Grantham a couple of weeks ago.
As it is for people, so it is for business cycles, which can become more vulnerable as they continue. This theory will certainly be tested in 2018. The global economy enters this year with considerable momentum and lots of policy support.