S&P 500 “Line in the Sand” and Rotation Out of Growth Stocks?

It appears a line has been drawn in the sand at $3,900 on the S&P 500 as the widely-watched index has crossed that level several times over the last month (see chart below). Thus far, the S&P 500 has been directionless since the beginning of February.

Over the weekend, I assumed Senate passage of the $2 trillion “relief” bill, and likely passage in the House this week, would have been sufficient to thrust the S&P above 3,900. However, so far, even that has not provided enough fuel to support the next leg higher. Has the market already priced this in? A “buy the rumor, sell the news” dynamic? Continue reading “S&P 500 “Line in the Sand” and Rotation Out of Growth Stocks?”

BRIEF: Year End Market Returns Summary

What a year.

The widely followed S&P 500 index ended 2020 over 16% higher (18.4% total return w/ dividends) than it began the year even as it experienced one of the sharpest 34% declines in history (mid-February to mid-March).

The U.S. stock market managed a great year even in the midst of a global pandemic that saw businesses shut down, tens of millions of people lose their jobs, spike in corporate defaults, a steep recession (we’re still in BTW) and S&P 500 earnings that declined 13.6% from the prior year.

This means the entire increase in the S&P 500 was from expansion of the Price/Earnings multiple to over 30x, which is a level ONLY seen throughout history in the Dot-Com Bubble and Great Financial Crisis. The long-term average is about 16x. Continue reading “BRIEF: Year End Market Returns Summary”

Tesla: Some Perspective

I’ve been asked about Tesla several times the last few weeks so time for an update. This is a wonderful discussion that provides some perspective on the economics of automakers in general and the highly improbable events that would have to materialize to justify a valuation for Tesla at even 1/10th its current value.

In Mid-November it was announced that Tesla would be added to the S&P 500. Tesla stock is up over 70% since the announcement…not because of any fundamental change in the company, mind you, but simply because of speculators front-running index funds’ required purchases at any price.

The gain since the announcement alone in one month’s time (adding almost $300 billion of market cap) amounts to more than the entire Toyota company! Think about that for a moment. Tesla has added the value of the world’s most profitable and largest automaker in the blink of an eye on no fundamental news whatsoever. Continue reading “Tesla: Some Perspective”