Constructive, Not Complacent: Lowering S&P 500 Target

Stocks have been unable to make up much ground since the June 16 lows, with a bear market rally amounting to only around a 4.3% gain in the S&P 500 Index since then (as of July 1). After the more than 6% rally the week of June 24 and the increasing optimism that came with that bounce, stocks pulled back again last week—the 11th down week for the index in the past 13 weeks. While we acknowledge that a V-shaped recovery is probably not in the cards and prior valuation targets no longer appear achievable, we remain constructive on equities for the second half, but not complacent.

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Relief at the Pump and for Portfolios?

 

2022 has been rough all-around for the American consumer. Not only are we battling decades-high inflation, but investors’ portfolios are off to one of the worst starts to a year in history as we near the halfway point. Our technical work is first and foremost rooted in trend following, and the trend in both
stock and bond prices so far this year have of course been down. However, one trend that has been strongly higher is energy prices. It may be early, but we see some potential signs that energy trends could be changing, which would not only have positive implications for consumers’ wallets, but also potentially investors’ investment portfolios.

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Bear Market Q&A

 

The bear market that started on June 13 has left the S&P 500 Index 23.5% below its January 3 high. After the initial positive reaction to the Federal Reserve’s first 0.75% rate hike since 1994 and tough talk on inflation, heightened fears of recession and that the Fed might “break something” sent stocks down for the 10th week out of 11 for only the second time in history (The first was in 1970). To help investors manage through this difficult period, we answer some of the top questions we’re getting about bear markets and list some things to watch to assess progress toward an eventual durable
low.

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Is the 60/40 Portfolio Dead?

 

This year has been tough for investors, not just because stocks have fallen but also because bonds have not helped mitigate those losses as they have historically done. Below we discuss the outlook for diversified portfolios of stocks and bonds to make the case that the 60/40 portfolio isn’t dead. It
may have been wounded this year, and took another blow on Friday after the hotter-than-expected inflation data, but we believe the losses in stocks and bonds this year increase the chances of positive outcomes going forward. Long-term investors take note.

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Looking Through the Clouds

 

At the risk of sounding cliché, making the case for stocks to stage a second half rally back to the prior highs requires investors to see through some heavy cloud cover. If you prefer another market cliché, it’s times like these when investors need a crystal ball. We fully acknowledge how tough it is to see the bull case for stocks right now, and a retest of recent lows is certainly possible, but this week we lay out the bull case for the second half of the year. It starts with inflation.

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Dawn of a New Era for Bonds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Core bond investors have experienced the worst start to the year ever. However tough this year has been so far though (and it has been tough), the potential for future returns has improved meaningfully, in our view. Starting yields tend to be a good predictor of future returns and have become more attractive in a number of markets recently. With yields on most fixed income markets moving sharply higher, now could be a good time to revisit fixed
income markets.

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Corporate America Delivers, Market Attention Focused Elsewhere

 

First quarter earnings season was solid by just about any measure, but based on recent market behavior it’s obvious that in general market participants paid little attention. This is a macro-driven market, so it will likely take positive macro developments, i.e., better news on the inflation front, to turn stocks around. However, these results are impressive on their own and shouldn’t hurt the case for the bulls. The question is when will the micro stop getting drowned out by the macro.

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Have We Really Seen Extreme Pessimism Yet?

 

It’s been a very tough start to the year with both stocks and bonds down sharply. Adding to the “wall of worry” for investors are the highest levels of U.S. inflation in decades, an aggressive Federal Reserve (Fed), Chinese lockdowns, and continuing war in Europe. So perhaps it is no surprise that investor sentiment polls are showing signs of extreme pessimism. Extremes in sentiment tend to be contrarian indicators for the stock market over the short-to-medium-term, but have we really seen extreme pessimism yet? Below we look at some of the latest investor sentiment data and share our thoughts about the disparity between what investors are saying and what they are  actually doing.

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Why You Shouldn’t Sell in May This Year

 

“Sell in May and go away” is probably the most widely cited stock market cliché in history. Every year a barrage of Wall Street commentaries, media stories, and investor questions flood in about the popular stock market adage. In this week’s Weekly Market Commentary, we tackle this commonly cited seasonal pattern and why it might not play out this year, similar to recent years.

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