Market Perspectives

2015 Leadership: An Early Take

Economically defensive stocks outperformed for 2014 and held their grip in January 2015. This action is consistent with our view that the bull market is an aged, overvalued one that has begun a final "distribution" process.

Can The Dollar Save Small Caps?

Historically, Small Caps have, on average, outperformed Large Caps during periods of sustained U.S. dollar strength. However, that isn't happening in the current cycle, and the late 1990s also stand out as a costly counter-example.

Small Cap Leverage: A Concern?

Small Cap Leverage: A Concern? Many reasons have been proposed to account for the recent momentum breakdown. we throw in yet another idea as food for thought: the leverage of companies’ balance sheets.

Why We Think "Tapering" Is Tightening

While Fed watchers continue to debate the timing of the first post-2008 Federal Funds rate hike (first or second quarter of 2015?), we believe the first move toward tighter policy occurred in January of this year, when the Fed first reduced its monthly bond purchases down to $75 billion (a $10 billion reduction). Our opinion isn’t based on any intricate knowledge of Fed liquidity flows, but simply on the subsequent action of two key stock market segments.

Market Internals—Breadth Weakness Troubling But Not Dire

Last month we argued “stock market participation is too broad for an imminent cyclical top to form,” and we’re not retreating from that statement. But interim market tops of varying degrees of importance can form with little or no warning, and we think the July 24th S&P 500 high will go into the books as either a short or intermediate-term top of some significance.

10-Year Stock Market View: Are Above Average Returns Possible?

It's now widely accepted that not only have U.S. stocks entered a new secular bull market, but the new secular upswing is still a relatively youthful one that could produce above average returns for perhaps another decade....however, based on our market analysis tools, the long-term outlook is not so encouraging.

REITs: A Top-Down View

Despite their first half rally, we believe REITs' high valuations and tight correlation to interest rates will be headwinds for the asset class overall. For those maintaining a position in the space, however, our multi-factor selection model indicates that buying should be focused on Small and Mid Caps rather than Large Caps.

Is The Dividend Mania Ending?

In the last couple of months, there’s been an unusually high number of stocks making new 52-week lows even though the S&P 500 remains 24% above its own 52-week low set last November. This disjointed type of internal market action is usually not healthy, but it can persist for awhile before the warning flag turns from yellow to red.

U.S. Dollar Upside Limited In The Near Term

The U.S. Dollar is another vehicle having a hard time digesting the Fed’s message. You would think, with the Fed’s signal of tapering and the looser policy of other major central banks, the dollar should be very strong. But the DXY dollar index is actually down over 1% since the end of March.

Gold’s Implications For Other Commodities

While the year-to-date decline in gold has garnered the big headlines, the yellow metal’s breakdown represents just another crack in a broader commodity market slide that has been underway for more than two years. 

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