Thursday, November 28, 2019

Business Cycle Data And Investor Sentiment Supportive Of Higher Equity Prices

One factor impacting investor sentiment at the moment may be the fact the equity market has generated strong returns to date in 2019. The impact on individual investor sentiment has been one of caution. On a price only basis the return on large cap to small cap stocks is in excess of 20% this year, with emerging market returns low double digits as seen below. The second chart shows returns for these same indexes since the beginning of 2018, nearly two year returns. Returns over this time period are less than the returns this year, so clearly 2019 returns are simply a bounce back from the weak returns generated in 2018.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Business Segment Of The Economy Is Improving Too

My last few posts have focused on the strength of the consumer with a part of this strength a result of the strong labor market. Today's jobless claims of 213,000 beat consensus of 218,000 and beat the low end of the range of expectations which equaled 215,000. Now, after a couple more economic reports today it seems the business sector may be in an upswing as well.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Accelerating New Home Sales

Yesterday's blog post focused on the strength of the consumer and the positive impact on the housing market. Also noted in that post was the consumer's improved financial position versus the end of the financial crisis and the current limited draw down of one's home equity. Then today, the U.S. Census Bureau's new home sales report for October proved to be a strong one. Sales of new single family homes were reported at an annual rate of 733,000 for October. This compares to the consensus expectations of 707,000, with the high end of the range equaling 720,000. As the below chart shows, this level of new home sales is about average when comparing it to historical levels, of course excluding the over build leading up to the financial crisis. In an Econoday report it is noted, "new home sales are showing rapid acceleration."

Monday, November 25, 2019

A Healthy Consumer Leading To Favorable Housing Market

Late last week the National Association of Realtors reported existing home sales of 5.46 million units at an annual rate. This number was slightly below estimates, however, it was higher than the previous month and was 4.6% higher on a year over year basis. As the below chart shows, this rate of sales appears favorable compared to the last several decades. What is important to note is units available have remained at a reasonable level as well, 1.77 million units. In other words, it does not appear housing is being overbuilt.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Healthy Consumer A Positive For The Economy

The consumer is an important part of the economy as the consumer segment accounts for nearly 70% of GDP. As the current economic expansion continues to extend its record run in terms of length month after month, looking for excesses or bubbles is certainly warranted. However, one area that seems in decent shape is the consumer, yet some recent commentary seems to have some doubt with a focus on the growth in personal loan debt. This recent focus on the consumer can be seen in the chart below that shows the increased frequency of Google Trends searches on the term "strong consumer."

Saturday, November 09, 2019

This May Be The Time For Value Investors

Since late August value style equities have outperformed their growth counterparts. Except for a few brief periods over much of the last six years, the growth style has dominated the value style. In late 2015 through late 2016 value dominated growth as seen in the below chart. In a post I wrote several years ago, 2015 Was A Year For Growth Stocks And Only A Handful Were Needed, I also noted how dominant the growth style had been and the possibility of a value style rebound. As fate would have it, the pure value style did outperform pure growth in 2016 by more than 15 percentage points.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Improving Individual Investor Sentiment

Bullish investor sentiment improved 6.3 percentage points to 40.3% from the prior week's reported level as noted by the American Association of Individual Investors. This is the highest bullishness level since the May 9 reading of 43.1%. Individual investor sentiment is certainly reacting positively to the upward trend in the equity markets, yet the current bullishness level only falls in the middle of a range of plus or minus one standard deviation of the average bullishness level. Due to the fact the weekly readings can be volatile one should evaluate a moving average of the bullishness level and in this case the 8-period moving average. This 8-period average remains at a low 31.2%.

Monday, November 04, 2019

Dividend Payers A Winning Strategy In A Volatile Equity Market

Now that the S&P 500 Index seems to be making a habit of reaching new highs on a more frequent basis, the journey has been anything but a smooth one. One area of the market that provided for a less bumpy ride was in the dividend paying stocks. Simply evaluating the return in a few of the dividend paying strategies since the market's peak in late September of last year, a couple of the dividend paying strategies still are outperforming the total return of the S&P 500 Index as seen in the below chart.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Strength In Employment Not Indicative Of Near Term Recession

Today's October employment situation report goes a long way in discarding recent recession chatter. October nonfarm payrolls were reported at 128,000 versus consensus expectations of 90,000. The  previously reported September payroll number was revised higher to 180,000 nonfarm payrolls from 136,000. October's manufacturing employment declined 36,000; however, motor vehicles and parts fell 42,000, mostly reflecting the GM automobile labor strike.