Three Minute Digest for May 19, 2022 - Lost in Translation: Some Plain English Observations
The news media works to get our attention and hold it. Capturing the passions of a sporting event are formulated to perfection by the broadcast industry and by treating the market day as a sporting event, the goal of holding of our attention is achieved. And fear is a more powerful emotion then optimism. As your Financial Advisors, we seek to translate the industry jargon that so often confuses and worries you to plain English and describe what it means to you and your portfolios.
Media: The question is whether we are in fact headed for a recession as defined by a period of temporary economic decline during which trade and industrial activity are reduced, identified by a fall in GDP in two successive quarters. We must debate if it will happen, when it will happen, how severe will it be and how long it will last.
Affinity Capital: While we enjoy this professional financial industry discussion, what does it mean for you? Whether we pinpoint and document an official recession is of little use. Simply put, growth in our economy is slowing significantly and we do not see much light at the end of a short or a medium length tunnel.
We have been positioning your portfolios for this slowdown since January.
Predicting a Market Bottom
Media: Economies and asset prices are interconnected in complex fashion, and relationships between them are constantly shifting. That is why even the most sophisticated fundamental models or pattern-recognition algorithms are incapable of reliable forecasts. But none the less, we see an endless parade of prognosticators making reliable forecasts!
Affinity Capital: We never know a market top or bottom until it is written in history. It is most difficult to predict specific prices and time the markets, so we try move with the overall tides. We do develop price targets to be used as watch areas for both the markets and specific securities. Based upon our research, you have seen numerous sales in your portfolios in response to this falling market.
Our reinvestment strategy will involve a measured approach to reinvestment and includes some degree of confidence that the worst is behind us. It is reasonable to miss some reward to gain the benefit of limiting additional potential risk to the downside. As long-term investors, the question is whether we believe that markets will reach new highs in the future? The answer is yes, so our goal is to limit losses and find opportune times to buy and be rewarded going forward.
Is the Worst Behind Us?
Media: Did you realize that on average, less than 10% of publicly traded stocks have a sell rating by Wall Street Analysts? Wall Street firms realize considerable profit by providing financial advice for companies of all types, stock, and bond issuance, securing sources of funding, managing risk, and providing asset management services. There is little incentive to offend corporate clients with a less than desirable opinion of their stock nor provide investors in general with an outlook that would lead them to escape a market sell-off. It is in their best interest to keep their clients invested regardless of market conditions. With that said, it is difficult to find a consistent message for a consumer to adhere to. We want Affinity Capital to serve that need for you.
Recently there were a few days of market rallies. Last week we stated, “While rebound rallies are likely, the trend is certainly down.” Last week, the S&P 500 hit a low that was -20% off the market high achieved at the beginning of the year. A drop of -20% is understood to be “bear market” territory. Right now, we do not see any evidence that this is any more than a bear market rally spurred by hitting this level. We see little positive evidence of a recovering economy and think we are in the early innings of stagflation. See our recent market comment: Three Minute Digest for March 31, 2022
While our prevailing opinion is one of caution, our ongoing preparation incorporates multiple scenarios and includes plans for a rising market.
As the Fed continues to raise interest rates this year, we recall an old market adage, “Don’t Fight the Fed.” The goal of raising interest rates is to slow growth and tame inflation. While there are always areas of the market in which to invest, the growth stocks that have led the markets higher over the years are most susceptible to rising rates. So, while rates are rising, many stock sectors will continue to be under pressure.
The war in Ukraine continues while the applications of Sweden and Norway to join NATO further troubles an irrational Russia. Meanwhile Interest Rates, Inflation, Energy Prices, and Supply Chain Disruptions all continue to negatively affect economic growth.
Our watch areas for the technology heavy Nasdaq see a potential drop of another -10%. We see a similar potential drop of -10% in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and a potential drop of -4% for the S&P 500. At that point, it will either be the bottom of this sell-off and a good point to invest or it is the top of the next downturn. You may see new investments in your portfolios but if the markets resume their downturn, we may quickly retreat. Last week we stated that “Navigating a market such as this is referred to as Trying to Catch a Falling Knife.” This is a very accurate reference for this market!
As always, please feel free to call with any questions. We very much appreciate your business.