Scott Martindale  by Scott Martindale
  President & CEO, Sabrient Systems LLC

Optimism reigns for the pandemic slowing and the economy reopening. And because stocks tend to be several months forward looking (and remarkably predictive, at that), April saw the best single-month performance for the S&P 500 in 33 years (+12.7%), while the Nasdaq saw its best month in 20 years (+15.4%). The S&P 500 Growth Index recorded its highest ever monthly return (+14.3%). In addition, gold and bitcoin have been rising as a hedge against all sorts of outcomes, including geopolitical instability, trade wars, de-globalization, unfettered monetary & fiscal liquidity (i.e., MMT), inflation, a weakening dollar, a “toppy” bond market, etc. (plus the periodic bitcoin “halving” event that occurs this week).

This impressive rally off the lows seems justified for several reasons:

  1. the coronavirus, as bad as it is, falling well short of the dire lethality predictions of the early models and our ability to “flatten the curve”
  2. massive monetary and fiscal policy support and the associated reduction in credit risk
  3. low interest rates driving retirees and other income seekers into the higher yields and returns of stocks
  4. household income holding up relatively well, as the main impact has been on lower wage workers who can’t work remotely (and government support should cover much of their losses)
  5. escalation of tensions with China seems to be “all hat and no cattle” for now, with a focus on economic recovery
  6. massive short covering and a bullish reversal among algorithmic traders
  7. the growing dominance and consistent performance of the secular-growth Technology sector plus other “near-Tech” names (like Facebook and Amazon.com)
  8. the steepening yield curve, as capital has gradually rotated out of the “bond bubble”

What the rally doesn’t have at the moment, however, is a strong near-term fundamental or valuation-based foundation. But although the current forward P/E of the S&P 500 of 20x might be overvalued based on historical valuations, I think in today’s unprecedented climate there actually is room for further multiple expansion before earnings begin to catch up, as investors position for a post-lockdown recovery.

In any case, it has been clear to us at Sabrient that the market has developed a “new normal,” which actually began in mid-2015 when the populist movement gained steam and the Fed announced a desire to begin tightening monetary policy. Investors suddenly become wary of traditional “risk-on” market segments like small-mid caps, value stocks, cyclical sectors, and emerging markets, even though the economic outlook was still strong, instead preferring to focus on mega-cap Technology, long-term secular growth industries, and “bond proxy” dividend-paying defensive sectors. And more recently, investor sentiment coming out of the COVID-19 selloff seems to be more about speculative optimism of a better future rather than near-term earnings reports and attractive valuation multiples.

In response, Sabrient has enhanced our forward-looking and valuation-oriented Baker’s Dozen strategy to improve all-weather performance and reduce relative volatility versus the benchmark S&P 500, as well as put secular-growth companies (which often display higher valuations) on more equal footing with cyclical-growth firms (which tend to display lower valuations). Those secular growth trends include 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), e-commerce, cloud computing, AI/ML, robotics, clean energy, blockchain, quantum computing, nanotechnology, genomics, and precision medicine. So, we felt it was necessary that our stock selection strategy give due consideration to players in these market segments, as well.

As a reminder, you can find my latest Baker’s Dozen slide deck and commentary on terminating portfolios at http://bakersdozen.sabrient.com/bakers-dozen-marketing-materials.

In this periodic update, I provide a market commentary, discuss Sabrient’s new process enhancements, offer my technical analysis of the S&P 500, and 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 now look defensive, and our sector rotation model maintains a neutral posture as it climbs from the depths of the selloff. Meanwhile, the technical picture remains bullish as it continues to gather speculative conviction on a better future, although with elevated volatility amid progress/setbacks as the economy tries to gradually reopen in the face of an ongoing coronavirus threat.  Read on....

This Could be THE Week

The S&P 500 really cut it close today.  Much like last Friday’s measly comeback for +0.1% gain for the week, it gained +0.22 points, up a whopping +0.016%.

david / Tag: AAPL, CHMT, FL, GE, IPG, S&P 500, WNR / 0 Comments

david trainerFor U.S. equities, ETFs offer a higher percentage (10%) of attractive investment options than mutual funds (1%) at a lower cost. The radically higher number of US equity mutual funds (4,700+) versus ETFs (380+) is not indicative of better stock selection from active management. On the contrary, the vast majority of actively-managed funds do not justify the higher fees they charge.

dtrainer / Tag: AIG, ALV, AVB, BAC, C, CME, COF, COP, CPB, CVX, DELL, DISH, Do, DVN, EP, EQR, FCX, FRX, GE, GILD, GIS, GPS, INTC, JPM, LLY, LRCX, MSFT, NEM, NLY, PXD, T, TXN, UNH, VNO, WFC, WMT, XOM / 0 Comments

david trainerAs one financial scandal follows another, it seems the good guys are having a tougher time catching the bad guys. Recent revelations about MF Global’s ponzi scheme are another reminder of how our regulatory and oversight systems seem to let whales pass through their nets.

dtrainer / Tag: AIG, AVB, BAC, C, CME, COF, COP, CVX, DVN, EP, EQR, GE, JPM, NLY, PXD, T, VNO, WFC, XOM / 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

Earnings Season is the Key

by David Brown, Chief Market Strategist, Sabrient Systems

david / Tag: AAPL, C, DAL, EEFT, GE, GOOG, GS, IGM, MEAS, MERC MCF, sectors / 0 Comments

Getting the Holiday Spirit

by David Brown, Chief Market Strategist, Sabrient Systems

david / Tag: ASYS, CML, CTIB, DELL PAYX, GE, UFPT, WRLD / 0 Comments

Thursday Thrust – Just Buy the F’ing Dips!

By Phil of Phil's Stock World

It's very sad when you can get your best financial advice from cartoon characters.

ilene / Tag: BAC, BERNANKE, China, CMG, CNBC, Cramer, Europe, FAS, GE, NFLX, Ponzi, Propaganda, RUT, stock-market, TM, Trichet, XLF, XRT / 0 Comments

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