Monday, 25 September 2017

S&P 500 to continue rising — or not

Analysts are divided on the outlook for the US stock market for the rest of 2017.

In an interview with MarketWatch last week, Laszlo Birinyi, president of Birinyi Associates, thinks that the US stock market has more room to run before 2017 is over.

Birinyi explained that “none of the things that concern us about the beginning of a bear market are currently in existence, like exuberance”.

At the same time, he said that there is still plenty of cash around, with “a lot of money looking to make money”.

In contrast, TIAA Investments' Brian Nick sees US stocks ending the year below current levels.

“We are going to see a leveling off in the trajectory of how fast these gains could come — especially given the fact that the price this year of the S&P 500 has grown faster than earnings have grown,” he said.

However, Nick remains optimistic for next year and thinks the S&P 500 will hit 2,600 by the end of 2018.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

US stocks shrug off N Korea, in "bubble territory"

Markets were mixed on Friday.

The S&P 500 rose less than 0.1 percent, the STOXX Europe 600 rose 0.1 percent and the Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 percent.

Asian markets fell amid continued tension over North Korea but some analysts think that markets will be able to shrug it off as long as there is no military action from either side.

That is not to say that there is nothing for investors to worry about.

Howard Ma, chief investment officer at Meritocracy Capital Partners, thinks that the US stock market is at its fourth most expensive level ever.

"This puts the U.S. stock market smack-dab at the heart of bubble territory,” he said.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Markets mixed amid both optimism and warnings

Markets were mixed on Thursday.

The S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent but the STOXX Europe 600 rose 0.2 percent.

Earlier in Asia, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.2 percent but the Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 percent.

“Valuations are getting a little stretched, and it seems like there is some complacency in the markets,” said Wade Balliet, chief investment strategist at Bank of the West.

Indeed, Jeremy Siegel sees more gains for stocks in the remaining days of the year.

“I would say corporate tax reform could add another 10 percent to the market even this year,” said Siegel.

In contrast, Robert Shiller is “warning against complacency” as he sees signs of a possible bear market.

“[T]he US stock market today looks a lot like it did at the peaks before most of the country's 13 previous bear markets,” he wrote.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Markets mixed as Fed announces start of asset unwind

Markets were mixed on Wednesday.

The S&P 500 edged up less than 0.1 percent while the STOXX Europe 600 was flat and Asian stocks were mixed.

The US 10-year Treasury yield rose to 2.27 percent after the Federal Reserve ended its monetary policy meeting by announcing that it would start to shrink its assets in October.

“The unwinding of the balance sheet will dominate markets for at least the next two years and cements our outlook for higher rates,” said Bryce Doty, senior portfolio manager at SIT Investments.

“Even though this is a slow and deliberate and thoughtful unwind plan, it is not without its potential to rattle markets,” said Kristina Hooper, global market strategist at Invesco.

The impending drawdown in Fed assets comes after a renewed surge of optimism among US investors, with the Wells Fargo/Gallup Investor and Retirement Optimism Index rising from +124 in the second quarter to +138 in the third quarter, its highest level since September 2000.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

US stocks at new highs as investors await Fed meeting

Markets were mixed on Tuesday.

The S&P 500 edged up 0.1 percent to another record high while the STOXX Europe 600 was flat and Asian markets were mixed.

“With investors still re-evaluating the Federal Reserve’s ability to raise U.S. interest rates in December, attention will be directed towards Janet Yellen and her thoughts on the recent inflation trends in the U.S.,” said Lukman Otunuga, research analyst at FXTM, as the Fed kicked off a two-day monetary policy meeting on Tuesday.

In the meantime, Karyn Cavanaugh, senior market strategist at Voya Financial, said that markets “are paying attention to what they should be paying attention and that is earnings growth”.

Still, with US stocks at all-time highs, Bloomberg reported that “investors holding the priciest ones are starting to get uneasy”.

JC O’Hara, an analyst at FBN Securities Inc., wrote in a note to clients that “there are a few warning signs that have started to appear”.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

S&P 500 hits another record high despite overvaluation

Markets rose on Monday.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2 percent, the STOXX Europe 600 rose 0.3 percent and the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index rose 1.1 percent.

While Monday's gain took the S&P 500 to another record high, Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial Network, told CNBC that the stock market is way overvalued.

“The market probably would have to drop somewhere between 30 and 40 percent to get to fair value, based on historical standards,” said McMillan.

However, McMillan does not think a pull-back is imminent.

“Right now, a recession is a good ways away. And that's the engine for bear markets,” said McMillan.

On the other hand, CNBC noted that the S&P 500 has traded lower 70 percent of the time during the last two weeks of September since 1980, suffering an average loss of 1.3 percent.