With COVID, Afghanistan, the southern border, Hurricane Ida, and Congress spending trillions at a time, along with the threat of higher taxes and inflation – Is it reasonable to remain bullish?
In our January newsletter, we said that we expected this year will be a re-opening of the economy opportunity.
A picture of jumping from 2020 to 2021 seems more appropriate than any other New Year picture.
As we begin 2020, we would first like to review 2019 and then offer our thoughts for the coming year.
“Just released 1st quarter Gross Domestic Product was +3.2%. With almost 60% of the S&P 500 having already reported 1st quarter earnings, over 70% have beaten expectations, with the average beat at 7.5%. Our expectation: full year 2019 GDP will be close to +3%, with nominal GDP at +4.5% to +5.5%.”
2018 began with a roar and ended with a Federal Reserve Chairman’s thud. With a strong economy, the stock market was clicking along nicely until Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, during an October 3rd interview, said the Fed was a long way from “neutral” interest rates. In fact, he alluded to the possibility that the Fed might raise rates until they are “restrictive” to economic growth.
U.S. GDP, just reported, grew at 4.1% in the 2nd quarter and has averaged 3.1% for the past four quarters. The tax cuts, repatriation, and more friendly business environment has business and consumer confidence at the highest levels in 20 years. The result has been a recent surge in capex spending among businesses small and large.
As the employment rate has surged, resulting in more jobs than job applicants, business has begun to turn to productivity investment. These, along with concerns of debt and trade deficits are the topics for this quarter’s Market View. More significantly, these will be the theme for our investing over the next few months to years.
It is likely that you’ve heard (probably many times) that the bull-market is old – one of the oldest in history. 1st, bull markets don’t die of old age and 2nd, this one has been hampered by over-regulation and anti-business sentiment for much of its life.
It has been nice to have 13 consecutive months without a decline in market indexes. We know it is uncomfortable when the market drops. On Monday (2/5/18), we saw the computers trigger heavy selling when the S&P 500 dropped below its 50-day moving average.
Tax reform has created meaningful economic effects and significant investment opportunities. We discuss those opportunities, the impact of rising interest rates, and our investment themes for 2018 in this quarter’s report.