Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Elevated Asset Level In Money Market Funds

I have noted in recent blog articles the fact investment flows into ETFs and equity mutual funds has been strongly negative, i.e., outflows. Some of the equity outflows have found their way into fixed income ETFs and mutual funds. Another large beneficiary though has been money market funds. The below chart shows assets in money market mutual funds as reported by ICI as of mid week last week. Money market assets began to trend higher during the volatile market environment in 2018 and the money market inflow has picked up the pace in 2019 with assets now totaling $3.49 trillion.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Investor Pessimism Is Generally Bullish For Stocks

As recent weeks pass it seems the investor sentiment measures are increasingly indicating an investor that is becoming more bearish even as the market continues to trend higher this year. The current investment environment seems like one where the market is climbing the proverbial "wall of worry." A case in point is the spike on Friday in the CBOE Equity Put/Call ratio to .99. This is the highest level since the Equity Put/Call ratio reached 1.13 on December 21, 2018, Historically, readings above 1.0 have been associated with levels where the market is near a point where it turns higher. This potential set up to a move higher is on top of the 21% gain achieved year to date.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A China Trade Deal: Reset Higher In Market And Economic Expectations

The equity market ended this past week on an upbeat note, reacting positively to a China/U.S. trade deal. In looking at the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index, it gapped higher by 197 points at the open on Friday and was up as much as 517 points until late in the day. The below chart shows the S&P 500 Index and a similar gap higher open occurred Friday.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Fall 2019 Investor Letter: Soft Versus Hard Economic Data

In the third quarter many factors contributed to heightened market volatility that tested the patience of investors. If one simply read the headlines this year, they might have adopted a pessimistic market outlook and completely missed the 20% gain in U.S. stocks through the first nine months of the year. A few factors contributing to the volatility are listed below.

Bullish Investor Sentiment Nearing Washout Level

Individual investors continue to express a lack of bullishness on stocks. According to the recent release of AAII's Sentiment Survey, bullish investor sentiment fell to 20.31%. This is the lowest level since reaching near the same level in May 2016, at a time the S&P 500 Index was trading at 2,064. Since that time the S&P 500 Index is up nearly 900 points.

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Stocks Responding To Improved Earnings Expectations

Earnings growth expectations for S&P 500 companies continue to improve with the 12-month forward earnings growth estimate equaling 9.18%. This improving trend has been in place since February and is one tailwind supporting higher stock prices so far this year.

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Small Business Optimism Remains Elevated But Down From Earlier Highs

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index fell 1.3 points to 101.8 for the month of September. Although this is the second decline in as many months, the Index remains at a high level. The NFIB report notes, "The survey shows no sign of a recession and indicated continued job creation, capital spending, and inventory investment, all consistent with solid, but slower growth."