Quarterly Market Update – 2020.Q3

Below you’ll find the returns for various asset classes spanning stocks, bonds, precious metals and the U.S. Dollar for the last month, quarter and year-to-date.

We observe that the dispersion year-to-date is extremely interesting. For example, there is a massive discrepancy in the performance between U.S. large companies and U.S. small companies. The S&P 500 (large companies) made 5.57% on the year while small caps lost 8.64% on the year. Foreign developed country stocks haven’t fared much better as they’ve lost over 7% on the year. I’ve talked about the recent concentration of returns in the five major tech names previously (Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft) here and here.

The performance of silver has also caught my eye. It was by far the worst performer in September suffering a 15.5% loss but, even with that loss, silver remains the best performing asset on the list for the year making almost 30% in nine months!

The best performer in September was the U.S. Dollar with the USD ETF (Symbol: UUP) returning 1.68% in the month. Continue reading “Quarterly Market Update – 2020.Q3”

Cyclicality of Profit Margins and Why Most Common Valuation Metrics Are Unreliable

Often in the past I’ve discussed current market valuations and implications for market returns over the next decade. In those statements I’m careful to refer only to the most reliable valuation metrics with reliability defined as having the greatest correlation to actual subsequent returns throughout history.

This distinction must be made because it’s the least reliable valuation metrics that often get tossed around by retail investors, the financial media and even professional advisors. Continue reading “Cyclicality of Profit Margins and Why Most Common Valuation Metrics Are Unreliable”

Wild Ride So Far in 2020

The S&P 500 just logged one of its worst quarters in history and one of its best quarters in history back-to-back in the first half of 2020.

Specifically, the S&P 500 lost 20% in Q1 while making about 20% in Q2. The only other times in history this has happened were both during the Great Depression (Q3 or 1932 and Q2 of 1938) (Source: @Sentimentrader).

I’ve written about the potential for huge price swings in both directions previously.

This puts the S&P 500 down a little over 3% on the year while the global stock market is down over 7%. Meanwhile, gold and bonds are up on the year.

 

Continue reading “Wild Ride So Far in 2020”

BREAKING: The NBER Officially Declares Recession Ending the Longest Expansion in History

Well, it’s official. The body responsible for maintaining a chronology of peaks and troughs in U.S. economic activity is the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). The NBER just announced that the expansion that began in June of 2009 officially peaked and ended in February of 2020. The U.S. is officially in recession. Continue reading “BREAKING: The NBER Officially Declares Recession Ending the Longest Expansion in History”