Momentum’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!
If Momentum and Growth investors thought they were escaping 2020 unscathed, they learned otherwise on Monday. Pfizer’s promising news about a COVID-19 vaccine was met with universal excitement and investors rearranging portfolios—taking gains in long-term winners and plowing into beaten-down cyclical stocks.
It’s Time To Choose
Which box do you check? The “status quo” or the “change of pace?” Keep in mind, the same decision in front of you turned out to be extraordinarily important four years ago. So, which will it be for 2020 and beyond? Large Cap Growth or Small Cap Value?
Election—Another Chance For Value
As we Chinese watch the elegant display of the western democratic process this election season, we can’t help but think there are indeed people less fortunate than us “commies.” Worse yet, some of these people are Value investors.
Leuthold Factor Tilt Update
Factor analysis is a point of emphasis in Leuthold’s tactical research activities, and this note summarizes our Factor Tilt outlook going into the fourth quarter. Factors are return drivers such as Value, Momentum, and Quality, and research has found that factor results vary over time—but that does not mean they are random.
Small Cap Catch-Up?
The big jump in Small Caps over the last two weeks has entirely reversed the segment’s summer underperformance and has technicians feverish about another “breath thrust.” Technically, it’s impressive, but we are more intrigued by the fundamental potential for continued Small Cap (and Mid Cap) outperformance.
European Banks: Buy Low…?
As steadfast believers that “price paid” is a major determinant of an investment’s risk and return, we snap to attention whenever we hear that an asset is selling at a multi-decade low.
A Wobble At The Top
Look, quick! Before it reverses! The Top-5 firms in the S&P 500 have underperformed in September! I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive my sense of urgency, but the astounding speed and consistency in which these firms have outperformed may have burned the notion into my brain that they can only “go up” (or at the very least beat the index).
Inflation: Looking Beyond The CPI
The Fed is hell-bent on generating inflation of 2% or higher in an over-supplied world that we think should probably be experiencing mild deflation. Their success or failure at this mission will be critical for asset allocators. For equity managers who must remain fully invested, however, the more important question might be not whether the Fed can generate higher inflation, but where.
Consumer Discretionary: Neither Fish Nor Fowl
The combination of rebounding economic activity and a surging (peaking?) enchantment with mega cap growth stocks is pressing investors to make an important tactical call: whether to take profits in some highfliers and shift assets to sectors with more cyclical exposure and better valuations.
Growth Wherever You Find It
Growth investing is in the midst of a spectacular run this year, extending its decade-long dominance over the Value style. Chart 1 depicts the Growth / Value relationship over the last 25 years through July 31st, with key turning points marked by vertical lines.
“Guess What’s Been Exceptional?”
How can an equity manager possibly keep up with the QQQ—an ETF that’s almost 50% invested in the six largest U.S. companies?
Easy! Own the vehicle that benefits the most from a collapse in global trade volume and an escalating cold war between the U.S. and China—the EEM (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF)!
2020 Earnings And The Extremophile Market
As we wade into the waters of second-quarter earnings, muddied by economic shutdowns and suspended guidance, we thought it might be a good exercise to pull back from the “micro” of firm-level beats and misses and examine the “macro” picture that is the Great Earnings Washout of 2020.
The Growth Style’s Twin Peaks
The strong market rebound in the second quarter lifted the relative return of Growth vs. Value to an all-time high by the end of June. Chart 1 reveals that the cumulative S&P 500 Growth / Value return spread hit a new record last month, surpassing the previous high reached at the end of the Tech bubble in June 2000.
MTI: Investor Enthusiasm Heating Up
This week's MTI...
Should You Trust The Thrust?
During the first two months of the rally (and +30%) off the March lows, we noted that the usual cyclical leaders of a new bull market were underperforming on a relative basis, and there had been nothing even close to the “breadth thrust” that often accompanies an initial bull market up-leg.
It’s Demographics, Stupid! (Not The Economy.)
Turn on financial television at any random time, and you’re likely to soon hear the argument that still-high U.S. stock market valuations are “justified” by extremely-low interest rates. We’ve countered that these low U.S. rates are simply a reflection of the secular slowdown in economic and earnings growth.
Keep An Eye On What Your Stocks Will Buy
News that the Bureau of Labor Statistics may have undercounted the May unemployment rate by six percentage points should remind investors of the danger of taking government economic reports too seriously. Regardless of the figure, though, unemployment is no doubt near its peak for the downturn.
Can The Rally Recover From Its 0-For-8 Start?
The current rally is either the first upleg of a new bull market, or the second-largest bear market rally in the last 125 years. The lone development that can settle the issue is for the S&P 500 to move above its February 19th closing high of 3,386.15.
The Chart Everyone Missed
When we first met Steve Leuthold in the old company office in a renovated warehouse, he was updating a several-foot-long chart of either the DJIA or S&P 500, by hand, and we got a brief lecture on the importance of using logarithmic scale on price charts.
A “May Day” Revolution?
With May Day marches and demonstrations cancelled, the workers of the world have one less opportunity to remind us of the ever-widening wealth gap and the evils of the “Top 1%.” It’s a shame, because this was the year that we active managers would have stood shoulder to shoulder with those protesters voicing our own contempt for the “Top 1%”… of the S&P 500.