Scott Martindaleby Scott Martindale
  President & CEO, Sabrient Systems LLC

As COVID-19 quickly moved from outbreak to epidemic to full-fledged pandemic in a matter of weeks, hospitalizations and deaths gained momentum, as did the panic selling of risk assets. It demonstrates how interconnected the world has become. The pandemic has become a generational crisis – and the very definition of the proverbial Black Swan event – bringing the global economy to its knees, at least temporarily. As a result, Q1 closed with a rare and dreaded trifecta of three down months, which historically does not lead to a quick recovery (albeit with a small sample size). It was the worst Q1 performance since 1987 and the fastest fall from record highs in history.

From its intraday all-time high on 2/19/20 to the intraday low on 3/23/20 (i.e., a little over one month), the S&P 500 fell an incredible -35.3%, wiping out the entire “Trump Bump” and about $10 trillion in US market cap in almost the blink of an eye. Moreover, asset classes were highly correlated in a mass liquidation, leaving no place to hide other than US Treasuries or cash (thus strengthening the US dollar). Even gold and cryptocurrencies largely failed to serve as the safe havens from financial distress they are intended to be, at least initially, as traders liquidated everything into cold hard cash. Indeed, money market funds surged above $4 trillion for the first time ever. Never truer was the old saying, “Stocks take the stairs up and the elevator down” – or perhaps more fittingly in this case, stocks had rock-climbed up the cliff and swan-dived back down.

But the news has gotten better, as social distancing seems to be doing its job to “flatten the curve” of new hospitalizations, while the Federal Reserve and Congress have flooded the economy with unprecedented levels of fiscal and monetary support, stimulus, and liquidity. As a result, the S&P 500 has retraced over half of the selloff, and just posted its best week in 46 years (+12.1% in a shortened holiday week, at that). Now, the big question on everyone’s mind is, “What’s next?” Some see this as the end to a very brief bear market and the start of a brand new bull market, while others see it as just a bear market bounce and an opportunity to sell into strength before the next downswing. Some prominent names even think we are the verge of the next Great Depression. But from my standpoint, as we enter Passover and Easter weekend, I am optimistic that mass liquidation of financial assets is likely behind us, the economy will reopen sooner than previously expected, and that we have seen the market lows (although there may be some backfilling of technical gaps and retesting of support levels).

Perhaps a resumption of last fall’s fledgling broad-based rally (8/27/19 – 12/20/19) will persist much longer this time and favor the cyclical market segments (as many prominent names on Wall Street expect) and valuation-oriented strategies like Sabrient’s Baker’s Dozen – particularly given our newly-enhanced approach designed to improve all-weather performance and reduce relative volatility versus the benchmark S&P 500 (which has been tough to beat over the past couple of years given the narrow leadership of secular-growth mega-cap Tech and persistently defensive investor sentiment).

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. Notably, Healthcare is suddenly the hero during this COVID-19 scare instead of the avoided sector from all the “Medicare for All” talk. (Perhaps that is behind us now that Bernie Sanders has suspended his presidential campaign.) In summary, our sector rankings remain neutral, and our sector rotation model moved to a defensive posture last month. The technical picture shows a market that has likely bottomed and begun to recover, although with elevated volatility likely to persist and strong directional signals that are suddenly invalidated and reversed by the latest news report on COVID-19 or government stimulus.

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. Click to read on...

Scott MartindaleThe technical picture for stocks has shifted from bearish into neutral, and our fundamentals-based sector rankings appear to have moved from bullish to neutral, as well. Thus, caution remains the order of the day until either the bulls or bears can find a catalyst -- and enough recruits -- to move the ball in their direction.

smartindale / Tag: iShares, sectors, ETF, SPY, VIX, IYF, iyw, IYJ, IYZ, IYC, IYK, IYH, IDU, IYM, IYE, FTEC, FHLC, FUTY, FSTA, FIDU, SOXX, FXR, KBWP, SYNT, SNDK, WSO, HII, SBNY, RNR / 0 Comments

Scott MartindaleOverall, the economy appears to be on a steady path to recovery. As the Federal Reserve eventually allows interest rates to rise, we likely will see a rotation out of value and into growth as defensive debt-intensive companies struggle relative to companies that have lower debt burden and stronger prospective earnings growth.

smartindale / Tag: iShares, ETF, SPY, VIX, IYF, iyw, IYJ, IYZ, IYC, IYK, IYH, IDU, IYM, IYE, FTEC, FHLC, FUTY, FSTA, FIDU, XLK, PPH, FXR, XLNX, RVBD, SLXP, AGN, LLL, EGL TDIV, XTN, KBWP, AAPL, SNDK, TDG, SPG, SBNY / 0 Comments

Scott MartindaleWith plenty of wind in their sails, bulls coasted comfortably into year-end to close out 2013 with a stellar performance, as Santa made his widely-expected appearance on Wall Street. In fact, stocks saw one of their best years ever and the strongest since 1997, with the S&P 500 boasting a total return around 30% while closing the year right at its all-time high.

smartindale / Tag: iShares, ETF, sectors, SPY, VIX, JAZZ, iyw, IYF, IYJ, IYH, IYZ, IYM, IYE, IYC, IYK, IDU, IXN, KBWP, FTEC, FNCL, FCNCA, ASPS, CTSH, MANH / 0 Comments

david trainerBefore I delve into the accounting loopholes used to prop 3rd-quarter earnings, I will start with pointing out the intimidating amount of ETF choices in the financial sector.

There are 25 financial sector ETFs.  These 25 ETFs have drastically different stock holdings and, therefore, allocations. The lowest number of holdings is 24 while the highest is 496, per figure 1.

dtrainer / Tag: BAC, C, JPM, KBE, KBWP, VFH, XLF / 0 Comments

david trainerThe financial sector is one of four sectors to earn our “dangerous” rating and is the worst-ranked sector in the our 3Q11 Sector Roadmap report according to my methodology at New Constructs.

dtrainer / Tag: AFL, C, FAS, FXO, IAK, IAT, IYF, IYG, KBE, KBWP, KCE, KIE, KRE, KRU, MS, PFI, PIC, PJB, RWW, RYF, TRV, UYG, VFH, XLF / 0 Comments