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”
Gold has been making a quiet run these last four years while yesterday it crossed $1,800 per ounce for the first time since September 2011.
Gold’s cycle low was a little above $1,000 in December of 2015 so it’s gained almost 80% over the last 4 1/2 years!
Continue reading “Gold’s Stealthy Move Higher”
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”
A question I’ve received frequently the last couple months from many different people is about the potential for inflation given the unprecedented response to the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic. It is an important question because it impacts the best investment approach going forward as well as other personal finance decisions.
I understand the rationale behind the question. After all, trillions of dollars have been pledged between the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury in the last few months in what essentially amounts to a “helicopter drop” of money on the economy. So, it is understandable that people are beginning to have concerns about the potential for inflation.
Ultimately, I believe we will get inflation mainly because the Federal Reserve will stop at almost nothing to make it happen, HOWEVER, we must allow for the possibility of getting deflation first. Continue reading “Deflation or Inflation?”
An old saying is “there is always a bull market somewhere.” This year is no exception.
For the year, through yesterday’s close, we’ve witnessed long-term, “boring” Treasury bonds gain almost 24% and gold make over 9% while the global stock market has lost over 13%! All this in just about two months!
Even when things aren’t going well in stocks, it seems there is usually an asset somewhere at least holding up if not delivering positive returns. Continue reading “There’s Always A Bull Market Somewhere”