The big news of the day is that the United Kingdom has finally pulled the trigger on its exit from the European Union. The letter initiating Brexit was delivered this morning, and the parties now begin the two-year process of negotiating the exit terms and subsequent relationship.
“Pull” comes from an era long gone by when they actually had real birds in cages and the shooter would say “pull” to have the cage cord pulled and release the bird. The term “pull,” however, took on a whole new meaning last Friday when Speaker Ryan “pulled” the Republican healthcare bill (H.R. 1628) from consideration.
Much ink has been spilled by Wall Street analysts, the media, and yours truly, about the historically-wide spread between the so-called "soft" and "hard" economic data. Before getting to my latest thoughts on the subject, some definitions are in order.
Today, the Republicans are set to make a high-stakes gamble on one of their signature issues, repealing the Affordable Care Act. They don’t know whether the bill will pass, but at President Trump’s behest, they are bringing it to the floor.
There is plenty of “upside risk.” Earnings growth is improving, even in the environment of modest growth. The recent market strength could go on for years without any policy changes. If some of the Trump agenda (probably with Democratic support) becomes law, it could mean a spike in both economic growth and profits. We already see improved business and consumer confidence.
I spent last week climbing the mountains of Idaho and Utah, seeing accounts and doing presentations for our financial advisors and their clients. In my absence, the stock market did some climbing of its own...
Just as I do with the economy, I review the market each month for warning signs of trouble in the near future. Although valuations are now high—a noted risk factor in past bear markets—markets can stay expensive (or get much more expensive) for years and years, which doesn’t give us much to go on timing-wise.
Nothing seems to be able to phase the stock market recently. Political infighting, Presidential tweets, North Korean missile launches, oil falling below $50, European political uncertainty, higher bond yields, and the Fed raising rates: none of those forces have knocked stocks off their recent uptrend.
Many investors are wondering whether the stock market has come too far too fast. The latest consolidation brought the S&P 500 down only 2%, but the average stock was down more than that.
I was a mere “pup” in this business when my father would tell me, “Son, if you think the market is going up be bullish. If you think it’s going down be bearish, but for gosh sakes make a call. And when you make a ‘call’ you are going to be wrong at times.