VALUE STOCKS ARE having quite the year—at least relative to growth shares. This past week underscored that trend, with the value-oriented Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rising every day. Barring a big drop today, October will mark the index’s best monthly performance since 1976.
Even as the Dow rallied 5.7% last week, the growth-heavy Nasdaq Composite index rose just 2.2%. For the year, the Nasdaq is down 29%, versus less than 10% for the Dow.
AS INFLATION continues to run hot, wage gains for the bottom quartile of income earners are almost keeping pace with consumer prices. Meanwhile, checking account balances for this group remain more than 50% above pre-pandemic levels.
Is everything A-okay? Of course not. Still, I’d argue that many Americans have positioned themselves well to weather an economic downturn. Another sign: Average credit scores are much improved from, say, the mid-2000s, when families were loading up on debt and speculators were snatching up houses only to flip them months later.
LAST WEEK’S INFLATION report did the bulls no favors. The latest reading on the Consumer Price Index showed a larger-than-expected September rise, mostly due to housing data, which tend to respond slowly to higher interest rates. Then came Friday’s University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Survey, which showed an unexpected jump in inflation expectations over the next year and next five years. Result: Bond yields climbed and stocks finished the week lower.
But there’s also good news: Among economists,
THERE’S AN INVESTOR sentiment chart that gets dusted off and passed around after long periods of market malaise. Using the chart, active investors aim to identify when people have given up on stocks, so they can buy shares at the point of maximum pessimism.
Looking back, it appears that late 2021 marked the chart’s “euphoria” phase, and we’ve since been descending through the stages that follow—anxiety, denial, fear and so on. Which phase are we currently in?
I ADVISED LAST OCTOBER that loading up on holiday gifts ahead of the main shopping season probably made sense, given problems with the supply chain. Foreign manufacturers were struggling to produce enough goods, plus many items were stuck in ships anchored off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California. Parents across the country, flush with cash, were frantic about getting their kids the latest hot toys.
What a difference a year makes.
SERIES I SAVINGS bonds might be the best-performing investment in folks’ portfolios this year. With steep losses in both the stock and bond markets, I bond’s 9.62% current yield looks like a home run. But the playing field could be shifting.
How so? Yields on the federal government’s other inflation-linked bond—Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS)—are up sharply in 2022. Result: TIPS aren’t such a bad buy today and perhaps better than Series I savings bonds.
WHILE THE S&P 500’s price-earnings (P/E) ratio has little predictive power if you look at returns over the next 12 months, it’s more important if you stretch out your time horizon to five years and beyond. What you pay has a significant impact on your likely long-run return—and that should be comforting for today’s buyers.
Recently, WisdomTree Global Chief Investment Officer Jeremy Schwartz shared a compelling graphic showing P/E ratios for dozens of U.S.
MIDTERM ELECTIONS are less than two months away. The political landscape is uncertain and always fraught with heated opinions—but I won’t dive into that end of the pool. Instead, consider how the stock market might perform in the coming months and into 2023.
While technical analysis—using past price data to infer future prices—is controversial and dismissed by many fundamental investors, it’s hard to ignore a persistent bullish pattern that could soon repeat. Stock market history tells us that,
THE S&P 500’S RETURN so far in 2022, when compared to the same year-to-date stretch for previous years, ranks as the fourth worst since 1928. One result: Stocks look quite cheap. The market’s price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple has retreated as share prices have fallen while corporate earnings have continued to grow.
One chart in particular caught my eye last week. Each month, I peruse J.P. Morgan Asset Management’s Guide to the Markets.
FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR Jerome Powell, speaking last Friday at the Jackson Hole Economic Symposium, said that bringing down inflation will mean “some pain” for households. But what sort of pain are we talking about?
Powell and the rest of the Fed members are hoping to create “tight conditions.” That isn’t some opaque description of the economy and financial markets. Instead, the term has four specific components that help dictate Fed policy.
ARE YOU READY FOR some football? Autumn is just around the corner and, if you’re like me, you can’t wait for those lazy Sunday afternoons kicking back and watching the gridiron. What about some munchies as you enjoy the on-field action? While the cost of everything food-related seems to be skyrocketing, there’s encouraging news for one popular football snack.
According to data from Bloomberg, wholesale chicken wing prices are down some 60% from a year ago.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE indicators right now is the ICE BofAML MOVE Index. Sound like trading jargon? Think of it as comparable to the VIX, except—instead of measuring stock market volatility—it does the same for bonds. Today, it’s indicating improving confidence in what’s lately been a very turbulent bond market.
MOVE is high when there are big daily swings in bond market interest rates. That’s what we’ve seen in 2022 as traders grapple with fast-changing economic data.
RECESSION FEARS are fading. Second-quarter corporate profits have been better than expected. Some recent economic data show key barometers in growth mode, even as the latest GDP report confirmed a second consecutive quarter of economic contraction. Indeed, this past Friday’s hot employment report cooled the debate over whether we’re in a recession.
The pandemic upended so many facets of life and business, and we’re still feeling the effects today, as evidenced by odd swings in what are often stable economic numbers.
MONEY MARKET YIELDS are no longer zero. Far from it. With the Federal Reserve raising short-term interest rates by another 0.75 percentage point last week, investors can now park their savings in a safe money-market mutual fund and earn more than 2%.
If you look at Vanguard Federal Money Market Fund (symbol: VFMXX), you won’t see a seven-day SEC yield that’s that high—yet. But give it a few days. Right before the Fed’s move last week,
INFLATION IS TAKING its toll on Americans’ view of the economy. But things could be a lot worse. Exhibit A: Europe.
Last week, the U.K. reported its inflation rate had surged to a four-decade high of 9.4%. June’s reading was a significant bump up from May’s 9.1%. Even higher inflation is expected as year-end approaches, with the Bank of England seeing annual inflation hitting 11%, according to The Wall Street Journal.