Equities are 2-5% higher so far in May, trying to add to their small gains from April and put behind a rough winter. This week, small caps closed at a new all-time high (ATH) and NDX broke to a 7 week high near its March ATH.
In the past 9 months, US equities have outperformed Europe by 6% and the rest the world by 5%. Despite this, fund managers remain underweight the US. US equities should continue to outperform their global peers on a relative basis.
In the past 9 months, US equities have outperformed Europe by 6% and the rest the world by 5%. Despite this, fund managers remain underweight the US. US equities should continue to outperform their global peers on a relative basis. Fund managers' inflation expectations are near a 14 year high...
Overall, corporate results in the first quarter were very good. S&P sales grew 10%, earnings rose 24% and profit margins expanded to a new all-time high of 11.6%. Fundamentals are driving the stock market higher, not valuations.
The macro data from the past month continues to mostly point to positive growth. On balance, the evidence suggests the imminent onset of a recession is unlikely.
In summary, there are two seasonal patterns currently in play for investors: the weak "mid-term election cycle" and the weak "summer months." In truth, neither cycle is bearish. If you sell in May, you should expect to buy back higher in November.
US equities have been in a consolidation phase for most of 2018. In the past, these consolidation periods have lasted a half year or longer - so this might continue into summer - although some measures of sentiment are already near a washout. New highs are very likely to still lie ahead in 2018.
Trade war rhetoric is driving US equities, meaning, what happens next in the equity market is very much a function of which trade posture the administration adopts next. Longer term, it's unlikely much of the current rhetoric will make into actual policy as it suits no one's economic interests.
Fund managers came into 2018 very bullish equities. Cash levels had fallen to the lowest level in 4 years. Allocations to global equities had risen to the highest level in nearly 3 years. Bond allocations were at a 4 year low. Our view at the time was that "this is a headwind to further gains" in equities.