Pessimism has rapidly infiltrated Main Street’s outlook, according to the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) latest edition of the Beige Book. By our measure, sentiment in the March 6 Beige Book, a qualitative assessment of the domestic economy and each of the 12 Fed districts, fell to its lowest point in seven years[Figure 1]. On the surface, the Beige Book’s negative tone is striking compared to recent versions, but context around key words is especially important in this edition.
Following the strong 2019 rally, we ask if stocks are overdue for a pullback. The S&P 500 Index rallied 17% in 2019 and 9.4% since the December 24, 2018, low. The strength of the rally has been a surprise to many given widespread concerns about slower global growth, trade uncertainty, and the age of the bull market — which turned 10 last weekend, as we discussed here last week. Following that strong rally, a pullback is to be expected; but we don’t think it will get much worse than last week’s 2.1% drop, for reasons discussed below.
January’s reports painted a picture of a solid economy struggling with global uncertainty. The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index (LEI), an aggregate of ten leading indicators, declined 0.1% in December, but grew 4.3% year over year for 2018. While the LEI declined for the month, positive year-over-year momentum signaled low odds of recession in the coming year.
The Portfolio Compass provides a snapshot of LPL Financial Research’s views on equity, equity sectors, fixed income, and alternative asset classes. This monthly publication illustrates our current views and will change as needed over a 3- to 12-month time horizon. Read recent issue...
AFTER NEARLY 10 YEARS of witnessing the U.S. economy and stock market recover—and thrive—investors are starting to wonder if we’ve seen all this expansion and bull market have to offer. Despite the market weakness we saw at the end of 2018, at LPL Research we expect the U.S. economy to grow in 2019 and support gains for stocks.
Over the past eight years extraordinarily accommodative monetary policy has served as the primary catalyst for spurring continued economic growth in the U.S. and around the globe.
Stock markets, bond markets, the economy, policy — some years they push and pull on each other lightly as markets follow their own path; in others, one influence, such as monetary policy, dominates. But sometimes, often following a period of change, understanding the pushes and pulls and how they interact becomes a key to reassessing market dynamics for the next year and beyond.