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Monthly Archives: March 2015

MARKET’S MARCH MADNESS

The Final Four of the 2015 NCAA College Basketball Tournament is set with Kentucky, Wisconsin, Duke, and Michigan State headed to Indianapolis to determine this year’s college hoops champion. In that spirit, we share our own Final Four for  stock market investing: the economy, earnings, valuations, and technicals. Based on our assessment of these four factors, we expect stock market investors may be “cutting down the nets” due to potential high-single-digit stock market gains in 2015…

Market’s March Madness

 

The Dollar’s Ripple Effect

In technical analysis, “intermarket analysis” looks at the way in which various markets interact. Intermarket analysis primarily looks at four maret sectors: currencies, commodities, bonds, and stocks. From a technical analyst’s perspective, focusing our attention on only one market without considering what’s happening in the others leaves us in danger of missing vital directional clues and potential profits. The dollar, which has appreciated 24.4% since June 30, 2014 (as of March 19, 2015), has had an unusually strong intermarket effect of late. Today, we look at the dollar’s recent impact on other major markets and what it means for investors froma technical perspective. Since June 2014, a strong U.S. dollar has created a tailwind for European equities, while creating headwinds for the euro and commodities, especially crude oil, as well as equity markets for commodity-exporting emerging market countries such as Brazil. (To read about the dollar’s impact on domestic equity markets, see the March 16, 2015, Weekly Market Commentary, “Dollar Strength Is a Symptom Not a Cause.”)

THE DOLLAR’S RIPPLE EFFECT

 

Dollar Strength is a Symptom Not a Cause

The massive U.S. dollar rally has wide-ranging impacts. It hurts international stock returns generated in foreign currencies. It influences global trade and the flow of investment dollars. A strong dollar hurts corporate earnings by reducing revenue earned by U.S.-based multinationals overseas in foreign currencies. It even puts downward pressure on inflation and commodity prices (including oil) and can influence monetary policy, corporate profit margins, and consumer spending. These are important considerations, but the key question investors are asking is whether the strong dollar will derail the bull market. We don’t think so, based on how stocks have done historically during strong dollar periods. But the dollar does have important implications for asset classes and sectors, as we discuss below…

Dollar Strength is a Symptom Not a Cause

Happy Birthday Bull Market

The current bull market, one of the most powerful in the S&P 500’s history, celebrates its sixth birthday today, March 9, 2015. The S&P 500 has more than tripled since the financial crisis closing low on March 9, 2009 (the index is up 206% since then), achieving a cumulative return, including dividends, of 244% (22.8% annualized). Since World War II, just three other bull markets have reached their sixth birthday, and only one (1982–1987) produced bigger gains ahead of its sixth birthday. We do not think this bull market is about to end just because it’s six years old. Bull markets do not die of old age, they die of excesses, and we do not see evidence today that economic excesses are emerging. There is still slack in labor markets despite healthy job growth in recent months. The credit markets reflect rational behavior. We see few signs of overbuilding in the commercial and residential real estate markets. Inflation (with or without the effects of depressed energy prices) remains low, which has enabled the Federal Reserve (Fed) to remain accommodative. The accommodative Fed provides further evidence of the absence of the types of excesses that have marked prior stock market peaks….

Happy Birthday Bull Market