Scott Martindaleby Scott Martindale
President, Sabrient Systems LLC

From the standpoint of the performance of the broad market indexes, US stocks held up okay over the past four weeks, including a good portion of a volatile June. However, all was not well for cyclicals, emerging markets (including China), and valuation-driven active selection in general, including Sabrient’s GARP (growth at reasonable price) portfolios. Top-scoring cyclical sectors in our models like Financial, Industrial, and Materials took a hit, while defensive sectors (and dividend-paying “bond proxies”) Utilities, Real Estate, Consumer Staples, and Telecom showed relative strength. According to BofA’s Savita Subramanian, “June was a setback for what might have been a record year for active managers.” The culprit? Macro worries in a dreaded news-driven trading environment, given escalating trade tensions, increasing protectionism, diverging monetary policy among central banks, and a strong dollar. But let’s not throw in the towel on active selection just yet. At the end of the day, stock prices are driven by interest rates and earnings, and both remain favorable for higher equity prices and fundamentals-based stock-picking.

Some investors transitioned from a “fear of missing out” at the beginning of the year to a worry that things are now “as good as it gets” … and that it might be all downhill from here. Many bearish commentators expound on how we are in the latter stages of the economic cycle while the bull market in stocks has become “long in the tooth.” But in spite of it all, little has changed with the fundamentally strong outlook underlying our bottom-up quant model, characterized by synchronized global economic growth (albeit a little lower than previously expected), strong US corporate earnings, modest inflation, low global real interest rates, a stable global banking system, and of course historic fiscal stimulus in the US (tax cuts and deregulation), with the US displaying relative favorability for investments. Sabrient’s fundamentals-based GARP model still suggests solid tailwinds for cyclicals, and indeed the start of this week showed some strong comebacks in several of our top picks – not surprising given their lower valuations, e.g., forward P/E and PEG (P/E to EPS growth ratio).

Looking ahead, expectations are high for a big-league 2Q18 earnings reporting season. But the impressive 20% year-over-year EPS growth rate for the S&P 500 is already baked into expectations, so investor focus will be on forward guidance and how much the trade rhetoric will impact corporate investment plans, including capex and hiring. I still don’t think the trade wars will escalate sufficiently to derail the broad economic growth trajectory; there is just too much pain that China and the EU would have to endure at a time when they are both seeking to deleverage without stunting growth. So, we will soon see what the corporate chieftains decide to do, hopefully creating the virtuous circle of supply begetting demand begetting more supply, and so on. Furthermore, the compelling valuations on the underappreciated market segments may be simply too juicy to pass up – unless you believe there’s an imminent recession coming. For my money, I still prefer the good ol’ USA for investing, and I think there is sufficient domestic and global demand for both US fixed income and equities, especially small caps.

In this periodic update, I provide a market commentary, offer my technical analysis of the S&P 500, review Sabrient’s latest fundamentals-based SectorCast rankings of the ten US business sectors, and serve up some actionable ETF trading ideas. In summary, our sector rankings still look bullish, while the sector rotation model has returned to a bullish posture as investors position for a robust Q2 earnings season. Read on....

Volatility reigned in January on elevated volume as stock investors shifted their focus from global events to U.S. earnings reports, which have ranged from amazing (e.g., Apple) to crushing (e.g., Microsoft). Although the earnings reports have brought plenty of surprises, the volatility is no surprise, as I and many other market commentators predicted for the New Year.

Scott MartindaleStocks continued last week to seek some firmer footing, as prices found some support and volatility hit some resistance, and a flight to safety of global capital benefited long-term Treasury bonds -- the very assets that are supposed to be selling off in a secular “Great Rotation” into equities.

smartindale / Tag: iShares, ETF, sectors, SPY, VIX, IYF, iyw, IYJ, IYH, IYK, IYC, IYZ, IYE, IYM, IDU, EEM, GOOG, FB, CAT, CVX, XOM, COP, SOXX, PPH, KRE, CACC, SIVB, FLT, CTSH, ACT, MWIV / 0 Comments

That’s been hard to figure lately.  Uncertainty has not eased.  Not in Europe.  Not in the Middle East. Not in China or Japan. Not in the U.S., with a dead-heat election battle and unknown future Congressional dynamics.  Companies overall continue to beat earnings, mostly, and miss on revenues.  Now there is a certainty: earnings cannot keep going up if revenues keep going down.

david / Tag: AFL, LCC, PG, DANA, YHOO, AAPL, GOOG, WDC, STX, CAT, MSFT, INTC, IBM / 0 Comments

A Slightly Better Outlook

By David Brown, Chief Market Strategist, Sabrient Systems

david / Tag: CACI, CAT, CYH, GPI, VXX / 0 Comments

Market Surges to 2-Month High--Why?

By David Brown, Chief Market Strategist, Sabrient Systems

david / Tag: AAPL, BAC, C, CAT, CI, GS, HS, HUM, JAZZ, ORCL, RNOW, SNX, VXX, WFC, WNR / 0 Comments

%&$#?@! the Government

By David Brown, Chief Market Strategist, Sabrient Systems

david / Tag: AAPL, CAT, CMI, HAL, IBM, JNJ, KO, MSFT, PRGO, T / 0 Comments

Banks are the Market's Ball-and-Chain

By David Brown, Chief Market Strategist, Sabrient Systems

david / Tag: AAPL, AMD, BAC, C, CAT, CBOU, CBST, GE, GOOG, GS, HOLI, IBM, INTC, JPM, KO, MDF, MSFT, NEM, PRG, sectors, T, YHOO / 0 Comments

Fear Factor Up . . . So is the Market Despite Mid-East Turmoil

by David Brown, Chief Market Strategist, Sabrient Systems

The market shrugged off the serious instability in the Middle East today, after tanking on those fears on Friday. The Dow, the Nasdaq, and the S&P 500 were all up, with the S&P 500 up the most, +0.77%.

david / Tag: AMZN, AVT, AVX VLO, AXP, CAT, DD, F, NFLX, ROC, VIX, VXX / 0 Comments

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