Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Chicago Business Barometer Surges

Today's release of the Chicago Business Barometer for September jumped 11.2 points to 62.4. This is further evidence of an economy that is rebounding strongly from the virus initiated recession. The release noted, "all five main indicators saw monthly gains in September, with Production and New Orders leading the way."

Monday, September 28, 2020

Higher Unemployment Level As Some States Are Slower To Reopen

Improvement is being made in the job market as the continuing claims data and unemployment rate continue to decline. In addition to the continuing claims category and as a result of the pandemic, another category of unemployment insurance has been created, the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) category. The PUA program had 11.5 million individuals receiving benefits as of the week ending September 5. This category is almost as large as the regular unemployment category which totaled 12.3 million individuals for the same ending week. As can be seen in the below chart, continuing claims, including PUA has improved; however, unemployment assistance across these categories remains at too high of a level.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Individual Investor Sentiment Not Matching Actions

The American Association of Individual Investor's Sentiment Survey release for the week ending 9/23/2020 showed bullish investor sentiment fell 7.1 percentage points to 24.9%. The decline in bullish sentiment largely showed up in the 5.6 percentage point increase in bearish sentiment. When all is said and done, the bull/bear spread widened to minus 21.1 percentage points from the previous week's spread of minus 8.4 percentage points. As the below chart shows, since January bullish sentiment has been on the decline and does remain at a level lower level.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Here We Go Again: Value To Finally Outperform Growth?

So far for most of the month of September, the large cap value stock space has outperformed large cap growth. Since the end of the financial crisis of 2008/2009 I have probably written about the market's turn to favoring value at least a dozen times. If performance is the yardstick, the growth style has ultimately been favored by investors for the last ten or eleven years as seen in the below chart.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Mega Cap Stocks Run Into A Headwind

The first two days of September saw the S&P 500 Index get off to a nice positive start, up 2.29% on a price only basis. Since then though the market has declined 5.4% on a total return basis. This decline has been led by the large cap technology stocks in the index. The blue line in the below chart represents the average return of six large cap technology companies in the index, Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL) Netflix (NFLX), Alphabet f/k/a Google (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT).

Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Small Business Optimism, And Importantly Hiring Plans, Remains Favorable

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index for August was reported at 100.2, which is a 1.4 increase over July's reading. The NFIB report notes seven of the 10 index components increased while two declined. The Index remains at a high level, a level which was reached following the recession after the technology bubble. The NFIB report also notes the August reading is slightly above the 47-year average for this index.

Sunday, September 06, 2020

The Stock Market And Economy Seem To Be In Sync

There are times when I write a blog article and I remind readers the stock market and the economy are not the same. By that, I mean the stock market sometimes moves counter to what one might expect based on economic data releases. Often times this divergence occurs as the stock market is forward looking and its movement anticipates better or worsening economic conditions while much of the economic data is reporting on the past. Today however, it seems the market and economy are in sync to a certain degree. Since the S&P 500 Index low on March 23 it has returned over 53% on a price only basis as of the this past Friday. Over the last 24 weeks, the S&P 500 Index has generated a positive return in 16 of them with 8 weeks being down. Following is a review of some economic highlights which suggest many areas of the economy are improving in a 'V-shaped' manner.