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

First off, I am pleased to announce that Sabrient’s Q1 2021 Baker’s Dozen portfolio launched on January 20th! I am particularly excited because, whereas last year we were hopeful based on our testing that our enhanced portfolio selection process would provide better “all-weather” performance, this year we have seen solid evidence (over quite a range of market conditions!) that a better balance between secular and cyclical growth companies and across market caps has indeed provided significantly improved performance relative to the benchmark. Our secular-growth company selections have been notably strong, particularly during the periods of narrow Tech-driven leadership, and then later the cyclical, value, and smaller cap names carried the load as both investor optimism and market breadth expanded. I discuss the Baker’s Dozen model portfolio long-term performance history in greater detail in today’s post.

As a reminder, you can go to http://bakersdozen.sabrient.com/bakers-dozen-marketing-materials to find our “talking points” sheet that describes each of the 13 stocks in the new portfolio as well as my latest Baker’s Dozen presentation slide deck and commentary on the terminating portfolios (December 2019 and Q1 2020).

No doubt, 2020 was a challenging and often terrifying year. But it wasn’t all bad, especially for those who both stayed healthy and enjoyed the upper leg of the “K-shaped” recovery (in which some market segments like ecommerce/WFH thrived while other segments like travel/leisure were in a depression). In my case, although I dealt with a mild case of COVID-19 last June, I was able to spend way more time with my adult daughters than I previously thought would ever happen again, as they came to live with me and my wife for much of the year while working remotely. There’s always a silver lining.

With President Biden now officially in office, stock investors have not backed off the gas pedal at all.  And why would they when they see virtually unlimited global liquidity, including massive pro-cyclical fiscal and monetary stimulus that is likely to expand even further given Democrat control of the legislative triumvirate (President, House, and Senate) plus a dovish Fed Chair and Treasury nominee? In addition, investors see low interest rates, low inflation, effective vaccines and therapeutics being rolled out globally, pent-up consumer demand for travel and entertainment, huge cash balances on the sidelines (including $5 trillion in money market funds), imminent calming of international trade tensions, an expectation of big government spending programs, enhanced stimulus checks, a postponement in any new taxes or regulations (until the economy is on stronger footing), improving economic reports and corporate earnings outlooks, strong corporate balance sheets, and of course, an unflagging entrepreneurial spirit bringing the innovation, disruption, and productivity gains of rapidly advancing technologies.

Indeed, I continue to believe we are entering an expansionary economic phase that could run for at least the next few years, and investors should be positioned for both cyclical and secular growth. (Guggenheim CIO Scott Minerd said it might be a “golden age of prosperity.”) Moreover, I expect fundamental active selection, strategic beta ETFs, and equal weighting will outperform the cap-weighted passive indexes that have been so hard to beat over the past few years. If things play out as expected, this should be favorable for Sabrient’s enhanced growth-at-a-reasonable-price (aka GARP) approach, which combines value, growth, and quality factors. Although the large-cap, secular-growth stocks are not going away, their prices have already been bid up quite a bit, so the rotation into and outperformance of quality, value, cyclical-growth, and small-mid caps over pure growth, momentum, and minimum volatility factors since mid-May is likely to continue this year, as will a desire for high-quality dividend payers, in my view.

We also believe Healthcare will continue to be a leading sector in 2021 and beyond, given the rapid advancements in biomedical technology, diagnostics, genomics, precision medicine, medical devices, robotic surgery, and pharmaceutical development, much of which are enabled by 5G, AI, and 3D printing, not to mention expanding access, including affordable health plans and telehealth.

In this periodic update, I provide a comprehensive market commentary, offer my technical analysis of the S&P 500 chart, review Sabrient’s latest fundamentals-based SectorCast quant rankings of the ten US business sectors, and serve up some actionable ETF trading ideas. To summarize, our outlook is bullish (although not without some bouts of volatility), the sector rankings reflect a moderately bullish bias, the longer-term technical picture remains strong (although it is near-term extended such that a pullback is likely), and our sector rotation model retains its bullish posture. Read on….

Even with many of the global issues pushed off the front page, eager bulls found yet another reason to keep the troops in the barracks. The only newsworthy items are related to corporate earnings reports, which have been mixed at best, interspersed with the occasional spectacular report -- primarily from mega-caps like Google (GOOGL), Facebook (FB), or Amazon (AMZN). Some of the bulls have taken their chips off the table until after Labor Day, while others have merely scaled back to scalping some trades. Either way, stocks appear destined to thrash about for the rest of the summer.

Stock investors entered the Fourth of July holiday on a high note, pushing the Dow Jones Industrials Index above 17,000 and the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index above 21,000, and even pushing the S&P 500 to a smidge above the upper trend line of its long-standing bullish ascending channel that has been in place for nearly three years.

Scott MartindaleStock market bulls made a valiant effort to fight off another looming correction last week. The economy is showing strong signs of recovery, the Fed remains confident enough to continue its stimulus tapering, and attractive alternative investments to the U.S. stock market seem scarce. Yes, bulls are all dressed up for more fun times. However, the technical picture paints a different story, at least for the near term.

smartindale / Tag: ETF, sectors, iShares, SPY, VIX, IYF, iyw, IYJ, IYZ, IYC, IYK, IYH, IDU, IYM, IYE, FTEC, FHLC, FUTY, FSTA, FIDU, PSI, XTN, PXE, Z, SNDK, ROP, MIDD, VLO, WLL / 0 Comments

Yesterday, the market continued its winning ways for the fifth consecutive day.  The S&P 500 closed within 1% of its all-time high, and the DJI was even closer to its all-time high.  Healthcare, Energy and Technology led the sectors while Financials, Telecom, and Utilities finished slightly in the red.  All three sectors in the red are typically flight-to-safety stocks, so despite lower than average volume, the market appears poised to make new highs.

walter / Tag: VLO, NXPI, KS / 0 Comments

What can we say after yet another sharp sell-off?  Since last Friday’s open, the S&P 500 has fallen nearly 3%, the Nasdaq has fallen more than 4.3% and the Russell 2000 has fallen more than 3%.

david / Tag: VLO, AAL, NXPI, VIX / 0 Comments

Today was the beginning of “spring break” for the market.  At least it seemed that way with a very low trading volume of only 600M shares on the NYSE.  Either the college crowd does more trading than we imagined or parents are taking the week off as well.

david / Tag: VLO, HII, SWKS / 0 Comments

The market's major equity indices were all up a little more than 0.6% yesterday, which was off mid-day highs, but positive because the market shrugged off poor economic news from China. Today, the market stayed relatively even, with the S&P 500 ending down slightly by -0.13%.

david / Tag: NXPI, ACT, VLO / 0 Comments

Today, with very little market moving news, the S&P 500 closed at 1808.4, yet another new closing daily high.  The index did touch the 1811 area on at least three distinctly different time slots creating a new resistance level.  But after last week’s bevy of positive economic surprises, the sharp gain of 1.1% on Friday, leaving the index just a tiny point away from its ninth consecutive up week, we can’t be too quick to suggest today was a topping ral

david / Tag: MPC, VLO, PRU / 0 Comments

Scott MartindaleStocks have been on a one-way train all month long. Now, as we approach Groundhog Day, the market appears to be having its own version of it as the Dow faces 14,000 and the S&P 500 struggles at 1500. As investors peer out above these levels, will they collectively see their shadow and retreat to safety for the next six weeks? Or will they bravely march forward into the clear blue skies to challenge the all-time highs from 2007?

smartindale / Tag: sectors, ETF, iShares, SPY, VIX, CVLT, TECD, PRE, BLK, iyw, IYF, IYH, IYJ, IYC, IYE, IYK, IYM, IYZ, IDU, JOSH, HAE, MPC, VLO, TSO, HFC / 0 Comments

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