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Discussion in 'Stock Market Today' started by bigbear0083, Mar 17, 2023.

  1. bigbear0083

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    Let’s Talk about Geopolitical Events
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    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Source Unknown

    The escalating tension between Israel and Iran has many investors worried about what could happen next. Although we won’t pretend to know the answer, we do understand that while geopolitical events can cause near-term market volatility, they rarely cause major problems for markets longer term.

    We don’t want to minimize the events overseas, but we hear this question frequently, so we reviewed 40 major historical geopolitical events to determine the market impact. On average, we found that stocks were higher three months later. While some of these events caused recessions and likely hurt overall returns, in many cases stocks did just fine. This was probably because a stronger economy was able to absorb the impact, even if the events were sometimes devastating from a human perspective.

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    Should the conflict between Iran and Israel continue to escalate, pulling in other countries, of course we would expect additional near-term volatility, especially given the sensitivity of inflation to oil prices. But, for now, it appears tensions have calmed in the region, and as long as the U.S. economy remains firm, which is likely, we expect the bull market to continue.

    This Is Normal
    The news headlines have been scary recently, but after the market run off the late-October lows, investors have been quite spoiled. From the Oct. 27 lows until the March 28 peak, the S&P 500 added 27.6%, marking one of the best five-month rallies in history. As we’ve noted previously, some weakness or choppy action after that kind of run is perfectly normal.

    Most years tend to see more than three 5% corrections on average, and 2024 only just had its first. Even more interesting, many years have seen a 10% correction (we average about one a year), but have still managed to finish the year higher, with 2023 as the most recent example. Could the current 5.5% mild correction turn into a 10% correction? Anything is possible, but for now we do not expect markets to go that far.

    We are actually encouraged by the fear starting to build up in the market. A month ago, nearly everyone was a bull, so these bouts of volatility are necessary to flush out the weak hands. Flows are moving out of equities, sentiment polls are turning dour, and overall anecdotal sentiment is much different than it was a few months ago. All in all, a choppy period and potentially a little more weakness could be in the cards, but we believe a tactical low is near.

    Reviewing previous election years that started strong shows that choppy weakness could last until after Memorial Day, but a summer rally is also likely. So, don’t lose faith now. This is all part of the process, and we continue to expect a strong second half of the year.

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    Three Charts That Caught My Attention
    Last week was the worst week of the year for stocks, but was it really that bad? I mean, technology and former highfliers were crushed, but regional banks had a great week.

    Here are three charts that caught my attention recently. The first one shows that four sectors were green and eight sectors outperformed the S&P 500 last week. We’ve been in the camp all year that we liked cyclicals like industrials and financials, so to see this outperformance is a welcome sign and one we expect to continue.

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    Last Friday, for instance, saw more than 300 stocks in the S&P 500 finish higher, yet the index lost close to 1%. I looked back in history (using data back to 1998) and found only one other day that happened. Usually when a lot of stocks are up, the index is green. But we know why this happened—it was mainly due to tech falling, with NVIDIA down 10% on the day and other names down significantly as well. We’ve been market-weight tech all year and have anticipated a likely pause in the group and potential rotation into cyclicals, and that may be what’s taking place.

    Second, I liked this chart from Frank Cappaleri, Founder of CappThesis, that showed the S&P 500 fell each day last week, but the equal-weighted S&P 500 (the bottom pane) was flat the last four days of the week. Again, under the surface, things weren’t as bad as it appeared and the potential for a tactical low grew.

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    The third chart I liked recently came from Scott Brown, Founder of Brown Technical Insights, and it showed last Tuesday was the peak in new monthly lows, even though we know prices continued to decline. This is what we call a positive divergence and shows that strength is building under the surface, increasing the odds of a rally.

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    The headlines aren’t good, but no market bottom in history has happened on good headlines, so this is a positive development. Are we at the lows yet? Maybe not, but for now we don’t expect the current 5% mild correction to turn into a 10% correction. Some more frustrating chop could be in play going forward, which would be perfectly normal.
     
  5. bigbear0083

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    May Almanac: Historically Poor in Election Years
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    May has been a tricky month over the years, a well-deserved reputation following the May 6, 2010 “flash crash”. It used to be part of what we once called the “May/June disaster area.” From 1965 to 1984 the S&P 500 was down during May fifteen out of twenty times. Then from 1985 through 1997 May was the best month, gaining ground every single year (13 straight gains) on the S&P, up 3.3% on average with the DJIA falling once and NASDAQ suffering two losses.

    In the years since 1997, May’s performance has remained erratic; DJIA up fourteen times in the past twenty-six years (four of the years had gains exceeding 4%). NASDAQ suffered five May losses in a row from 1998-2001, down –11.9% in 2000, followed by fourteen sizable gains of 2.5% or better and seven losses, the worst of which was 8.3% in 2010 followed by another substantial loss of 7.9% in 2019.
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    Since 1950, election-year Mays rank rather poorly, #9 DJIA and S&P 500, #8 NASDAQ and Russell 2000 and #7 Russell 1000. Average performance in election years has also been weak ranging from a 0.4% DJIA loss to a 0.6% gain by Russell 2000. Aside from DJIA, the frequency of gains in election year Mays is bullish, but down Mays have tended to be big losers. In 2012, DJIA, S&P 500, NASDAQ, Russell 1000 and 2000 all declined more than 6%.
     
  6. bigbear0083

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  7. bigbear0083

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    SPY Gaps Down by Weekday
    Thu, Apr 25, 2024

    US equity futures were already significantly lower on earnings weakness from Meta (META) prior to the 8:30 AM ET release of today's key economic indicators, but they took another leg lower after Q1 GDP came in much weaker than expected and PCE came in hotter than expected. Weaker economic growth and higher inflation are certainly not bullish for equities.

    With about 15 minutes to go before the opening bell at 9:30 AM ET, the S&P 500 ETF (SPY) is trading down more than 1% in the pre-market.

    Below is a look at all prior gaps down of 1%+ at the open for SPY since it began trading in 1993. This would be the 352nd opening gap down of 1%+ for SPY in the last 31 years, and on average, SPY has traded up 0.09% from the open to the close on these days with positive returns 51.4% of the time.

    This would be the 68th time that SPY has opened down 1%+ on a Thursday, and on Thursdays specifically, SPY has averaged an open-to-close decline of 0.10% with positive returns 47.1% of the time.

    As shown in the table, Friday gaps down of 1%+ have historically been followed by the biggest intraday bounce-backs (+0.39%), while Monday has been the worst weekday for bounce-backs with an average open to close decline of 0.20% after 1%+ gaps down.

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    This will be the 14th time that SPY has gapped down 1%+ during the current bull market that began in October 2022. On these days, SPY has averaged an open-to-close gain of 0.21% on days when it gaps down 1%+. (That makes sense, though, since it's a bull market.)

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  8. bigbear0083

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    Bears Come Out of Hibernation
    Thu, Apr 25, 2024

    The S&P 500 may have rebounded since this time last week, but sentiment has continued its slide. This week's AAII Sentiment Survey saw only 32.1% of respondents report as bullish, the lowest percentage since 11/2/23. In total, bullish sentiment has declined 17.9 percentage points since just four weeks ago when it hit 50%. That is the largest drop since December 2021 for any given four-week span.

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    Given the drop in bulls, bears have picked up to 34%. However, that reading was little changed week-over-week with a modest 0.1 percentage point increase. Like bulls, this is the highest bearish sentiment reading since last November.

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    Although the increase in bearish sentiment has been less pronounced, the inverse moves with bullish sentiment have been enough to push the bull-bear spread into negative territory for the first time since 11/3.

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    The 24 consecutive weeks with a positive bull-bear spread was one of the longest streaks in the survey's history and was tied with the 24-week streak that ended in July 2021 for the longest since 2015 (31 weeks). In all, there have only been 11 streaks that lasted at least 20 weeks in a row.

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  9. bigbear0083

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    The Headline GDP Number Masks a Strong Economy
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    The economy grew 1.6% in the first quarter, after adjusting for inflation. This was well below expectations for a 2.5% increase, and significantly below the 3.4% increase we saw in the last quarter of 2024. It also ended a streak of growth above 2% for six consecutive quarters. So, what happened – is growth really slowing down, and should we worry?

    Simply put, no.

    As with all macroeconomic data, you always want to look under the hood. Underneath the hood of GDP you find 5 major components:
    • Household consumption
    • Investment – both nonresidential and residential
    • Government spending
    • Change in private inventories
    • Net exports (exports minus imports)
    The last two, private inventories and net exports, tend to be the most volatile pieces of GDP growth. Excluding these gives us a much better picture of actual spending and production in the economy, i.e. final demand after adjusting for inflation. Think of it like “core GDP.” Real final demand rose at an annualized pace of 2.8% in Q1, well above the 2010-2019 average pace of 2.4%.

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    In fact, government spending eased in Q1 as federal nondefense spending fell, and state/local government investment pulled back. Excluding government spending from final demand, real private final demand rose 3.1% in the first quarter. That’s strong, no two ways about it. In fact, while last quarter’s GDP number is a lagging indicator, the most useful part of the report in terms of looking ahead is final demand. Right now, there’s not much sign that it’s slowing.

    The table below shows a breakdown of GDP growth by the major groups I mentioned above. Some highlights:

    • Consumption eased, but mostly because households purchased fewer vehicles and less gasoline (in real terms).
    • Services spending accelerated at the fastest pace since the third quarter of 2021 (when it was fueled by the pandemic recovery).
    • Investment spending picked up, with tech and industrial equipment spending accelerating.
    • Residential investment (housing activity) added the most to GDP growth since Q4 2020.
    You can see how the change in inventories and net exports were a big drag, pulling GDP growth lower by 1.21%-points when combined. Net exports were driven down by a surge in imports, as American households and businesses bought a lot more stuff from abroad than they did in the fourth quarter of 2023.

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    Here’s the Big Picture
    As I pointed out above, economic growth remains strong when you consider the most important parts of the economy – household consumption, investment, and yes, even government spending. What’s amazing is that the economy has grown at a faster pace than the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecasted in January 2020. After adjusting for inflation, the economy is almost 1% larger than the CBO had projected. That’s despite 1) a worldwide pandemic, and 2) the most aggressive rate hike cycle by the Federal Reserve in 40+ years.

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    Of course, a strong economy means inflationary pressures are stronger, and we saw some evidence of that in the first quarter, which indicates that interest rates are likely to stay higher for longer, as I wrote in a blog last week. Stronger economic growth plus more inflationary pressures means the economy is growing quite rapidly in nominal terms (that is, before adjusting for inflation). That’s important because nominal GDP growth is ultimately where profits come from (the same blog linked above discusses how this happens). Nominal GDP growth rose at an annualized pace of 4.8% in the first quarter, much faster than the pre-pandemic trend of 4.0%. The underlying numbers point to a continuation of this above-trend pace. That’s positive for profit growth, which is ultimately what matters for markets over the long run.

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  10. bigbear0083

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  12. bigbear0083

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    Underlying Economic Growth Is Strong, and Here Are 5 Reasons Why
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    Headline GDP growth in the first quarter disappointed, but as I pointed out yesterday, underlying growth was actually quite strong. The good news is that the cyclical areas of the economy, namely housing activity and business investment, are seeing strong growth despite the hurdle of higher interest rates. That’s really icing on the cake.

    The workhorse of the US economy remains the consumer, and there’s really not much sign of a slowdown as far as household spending is concerned. In fact, services spending, which makes up 45% of the economy (more than twice as large as goods spending) rose at an annualized pace of 4% — above the 2010-2019 trend of 1.8%, and the fastest pace in since the third quarter of 2021. Back in 2021, strong services spending was driven by everyone rushing out to spend once Covid looked to be in the background. That’s not the case now. The current strength of consumption is directly related to the strength of American household finances. Let’s walk through these.

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    Incomes Are Growing Faster than Inflation
    There’s no question that inflation ran hot in the first quarter, which is a setback after the downtrend in the second half of 2023. The Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation metric, the personal consumption expenditures index, rose at an annualized pace of 4.4% in Q1. But here’s the big picture: income growth is outpacing inflation. Disposable incomes grew at an annualized pace of 4.8% in Q1, but that’s also being pulled lower by falling income from assets (like dividends). More importantly, employee compensation surged by 7.3%. That’s the simplest explanation for why consumption continues to run strong.

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    Average Hourly Wages Are Growing Faster Than Inflation
    The charts above showed aggregate income growth, or total income across all workers, but that has been helped by an increase in the number of workers. However, inflation-adjusted hourly wages are growing even when you look at the average worker, and separate non-managers from managers. Since the pandemic started, average wages for non-managers have grown faster than the pre-pandemic trend, after adjusting for inflation (green line in the chart below). Over the last year it’s up 1.5%, above the pre-pandemic trend of 1.3%. Interestingly, wage growth for managers has fallen behind inflation since the pandemic, but the good news is that it’s been picking up recently, as the yellow line shows. Over the last year, inflation-adjusted wage growth for managers is up 1.2%, matching the pre-pandemic trend. Keep in mind that non-managers typically tend to spend a greater proportion of their incomes from wages.

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    Household Balance Sheets Are Strong
    Rising stock prices and home prices have resulted in more wealth for American households. At the same time, liabilities – especially mortgage debt, but also personal loans – have not increased at the same pace, especially relative to disposable income. At the end of 2023, household net worth was 736% of disposable incomes, well above historical levels. That’s on the back of asset values running at 836% of disposable income, even as liabilities stay at 100% of disposable income (in line with what we’ve seen in the past). This is a big reason why the savings rate has fallen since the pandemic. Savings rates averaged 7.4% in 2019, but it’s averaged 4.2% over the past year (through March). In fact, the savings rate has fallen from 5.2% in March 2023 to 3.2% last month. This is not surprising considering net worth is higher. Why save more if you’re worth more?

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    Households Are Far Less Leveraged
    The chart above is on an aggregate basis, i.e. across all households in America. A typical question we get is, “How does the picture look outside of the wealthiest groups, considering we have a lot of inequality”. Turns out the picture looks good. Across all income groups, liabilities as a percent of assets are well below what we’ve seen historically. In short, households are significantly less levered than in the past.

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    What matters when we talk about household debt is really the proportion of income that goes toward servicing that debt. Household debt service payments are running at 9.8% of disposable income, slightly below pre-pandemic levels and well below the historical average of 11.2%.

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    The Labor Market Is Strong
    The labor market is the entire ballgame as far as the consumer is concerned. If the labor market deteriorates, incomes fall, consumption falls, and the economy is in trouble. But we have the opposite now. Payroll growth has averaged 266,000 in the first quarter and the unemployment rate has remained below 4% for 26 straight months (the longest streak since the late 1960s).

    Historically, weekly unemployment claims have been a leading indicator for labor markets. Initial claims for benefits tell you whether layoffs are increasing, while continuing claims for benefits tell you how hard it is for laid off workers to find jobs. Seasonal adjustments due to pandemic-related distortions have been a big problem with claims data lately.To get around this, I compare non-seasonally adjusted data for 2024 to corresponding weekly data in 2023, 2022 and the 2018-2019 average. The top panel in the chart below shows that initial claims continue to run low. They’re comparable to what we saw in 2023, 2022, and in 2018-2019, indicating companies are not laying off too many workers.

    The bottom panel shows continuing claims for benefits normalized by the size of the labor force – this is the “insured unemployment rate.” You can see that it’s about 1.2% now and running higher than in 2022 when the labor market was red hot. That does mean hiring has eased and workers are finding it a little harder to find jobs. Yet, it’s running close to where it was in 2018-2019, indicating that this is still a strong labor market.

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    Ultimately, here’s what’s important to keep in mind: Consumption makes up 70% of the US economy, and right now consumption is running strong, thanks to…
    • Strong labor markets, which are pushing incomes higher to above the pace of inflation
    • Higher net worth, which means households can spend more
     
  13. bigbear0083

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    May’s First Trading Day: S&P 500 and Russell 2000 Higher 69.2% of the Time
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    The first trading day of May has had a bullish history over the past 26 years. DJIA, S&P 500 and NASDAQ have all averaged around 0.4% on the day. S&P 500 and Russell 2000 have the best track records, up 18 times or 69.2% of the time since 1998. With an average gain of 0.21%, Russell 2000 is slightly weaker. May’s first trading day’s worst loss was in 2020. DJIA and S&P 500 shed over 2.5% while NASDAQ and Russell 2000 dropped over 3%.
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  16. bigbear0083

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    Buy In May and Stay? At Least in an Election Year
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    “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!'” – Robin Williams

    Buckle up, as the trigger points for one of the most well-known investment axioms, “Sell in May and go away,” is nearly here. This gets a ton of play in the media, as the six months starting in May are indeed the worst six consecutive months on the calendar historically. The S&P 500 has averaged only 1.7% over those six months and moved higher less than 65% of the time.

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    Now let’s be clear. Up 1.7% might not sound like much, but it is still an increase. Also, we do not advocate blindly selling due to the calendar. But it is worth being aware of this calendar effect, as you will hear a lot about it this week.

    Now here’s something that might be less well known. These “worst six months” have gained in eight of the last 10 years.

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    Not to mention the month of May has been higher nine of the past 10 years, so maybe we should call it, “Sell in June and go away”?

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    Election years also tend to see a summer rally and strength during these six months, with the May through October period up 2.3% and higher an impressive 77.8% of the time.

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    Here’s another way of showing that a summer rally in an election year quite normal. What stands out to me is October tends to be quite weak, as those jitters are strong ahead of the election.

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    Given this year started off with more than a 10% rally in the first quarter, what has tended to happen in election years that saw big gains early in the year? April and May were weak, but stocks usually bottomed in early June before a summer rally. So far, this year is playing out to form.

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    How the market was doing going into these six months also mattered. Some of the worst “sell in May” periods have taken place when stocks were down year to date before May began, whereas if stocks were positive, the following months improved. In fact, when the S&P 500 was up more than 4% for the year at the end of April (as it likely will be this year), the following six months gained 4.2% on average and were higher nearly 78% of the time. Of course, when stocks were lower in April (like 2024) then those six months were quite weak, but much of this was due to the big drop in 1987.

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    We aren’t overly worried about the normally bullish April struggling this year, as we were up five months in a row heading into it and some type of break was warranted. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if stocks consolidated for another month or so, working off some of the historic rebound off the late-October lows. We do not expect major weakness, but a break makes sense. However, since this is an election year and stocks have been strong so far this year, we think a summer rally and strength during these six months is likely.

    Lastly, a five-month S&P 500 win streak is about to end, proving once again that all good things come to an end. The good news is looking at the end of previous five-month win streaks showed that a month later things were dicey, but going out 3-, 6-, and 12-months showed above-average returns. In fact, a year later stocks have been higher every time (six for six).

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  17. bigbear0083

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    S&P 500 1%+ Gaps Higher
    Fri, May 3, 2024

    The S&P 500 ETF (SPY) gapped up 1% at the open this morning, so below we wanted to provide a quick summary of how the ETF has typically traded on days when it gaps up 1%+. As shown in the table below, 1%+ gaps higher on a Friday have been the second most frequent of any weekday with 71, trailing only the 80 1%+ gaps higher on Tuesday. On the 71 prior Fridays when SPY has gapped up at least 1%, its median change from the open to close was a further gain of 0.27% with positive returns 59% of the time. SPY has had the best open-to-close performance (+0.50%) after gapping up 1%+ on Wednesdays and the highest consistency of gains (67%).

    As for the entire trading day, 90% of the time when SPY gaps up 1%+, it finishes higher on the day. That may sound impressive, but the fact that there is a one in ten chance of the market giving up all of its opening rally means that gains are hardly guaranteed. The worst day of the week in terms of holding 1%+ opening gains has been on Monday as 14% of those days have erased the entire opening gap.

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    Looking at more recent 1%+ gaps higher, the table below lists the last ten 1%+ opening gaps higher in SPY. Six of the last ten opening gaps have occurred on Tuesdays, but overall it has been a coin flip in terms of the market's performance from the open to the close. Of the five days where SPY did trade lower from the open to close, it only erased the entirety of its opening gap once (11/1/22).

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  18. bigbear0083

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    S&P 500 Election Year 2024 vs. 1968 & 2012
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    With all the college protests in the news it brings comparisons of 1968 to mind. 2024’s Big Election Year Q1 gains have already put the 2012 analog in my sights. Both were election years with somewhat correlated yet somewhat different narratives to 2024. The chart is from my members only webinar yesterday. S&P is clearly tracking 2012, not 1968 so far this year.

    1968 was marked by escalations in Vietnam, the Tet Offensive, and protests on US college campuses and elsewhere. Sitting President Lyndon Johnson dropped out of the race on March 31. Robert Kennedy senior, the leading democratic candidate, was assassinated on June 6. George Wallace ran a formidable third-party candidacy garnering 13.5% of the popular vote and won 5 states and 46 electoral votes. But Q1 was down, and April was up.

    In 2012 sitting President Barak Obama ran and won reelection. It was a year with the market driven by the Fed and interest rates. Zero interest rate policy (ZIRP) and quantitative easing (QE) were dug in deep. The Fed spun out QE3 and Operation Twist. Q1 was up big followed by a down April. Again, aside from the protests and wars 2024 is correlated more closely to 2012 than 1968.

    This updated S&P 500 Election Year Seasonal Pattern chart underscores the market’s tendency to be weaker in April and May after big Q1 gains in election years 1956, 1964, 1972, 1976, 1988, 1996, 2012. However, the market is likely to be flatter than the green line above due to inflation, the Fed, interest rates, a prominent third party candidate and two ongoing wars. Page 26 of the 2024 Stock Trader’s Almanac reminds us that “War Can Be a Major Factor on Presidential Races. Democrats historically lost on foreign shores while Republicans lost at home.
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  19. bigbear0083

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  20. bigbear0083

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    The April Employment Report Tells Us the Economy Is Strong, But Not Red Hot
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    The April employment report was the first one in months that went well against market expectations. Three blockbuster payroll reports in Q1 had conditioned sentiment towards expecting more of the same, but instead we got something less blockbuster(y). Payrolls grew 175,000 in April — below expectations of 240,000 and lower than the red hot Q1 monthly average of 269,000. This does shift the narrative from a “no-landing” scenario to “soft-landing,” i.e. a steady economy with inflation heading lower, which would allow the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates.

    Perhaps the best evidence here is aggregate income growth across all workers in the economy. Ultimately, income growth drives consumption, and aggregate income growth is the sum of employment growth, wage growth, and the change in hours worked. Over the last three months (through April), overall income growth grew at an annualized pace of 5.9%. That’s strong and above the pre-pandemic pace of 4.7%, but it’s far from “red-hot.”

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    In short, there’s nothing in the employment data that suggests an overheating economy that will keep inflation persistently high and push the Federal Reserve to maintain policy rates as high as they are now (5.25-5.50%). If nothing else, this report makes the prospect of further rate increases even more unlikely, underlying what Fed Chair Jerome Powell said earlier this week. As discussed in my previous blog, Powell stated there’s not much risk of the dreaded “stagflation,” since unemployment is low and inflation has eased a lot.

    Make No Mistake, This Economy Is Good for Stocks
    Aggregate incomes running close to a 6% annual pace suggests nominal GDP is also running at 5-6%. That’s an environment that’s good for profit growth, which in turn is positive for stocks.

    Yes, payrolls did come in well below expectations, but 175,000 is above the 2019 monthly average of 166,000. You always want to be a little careful with monthly job numbers, because they can be revised, but over the last three months payroll growth has averaged 242,000. The corresponding number exactly a year ago was 237,000. In other words, the labor market has remained strong, with not much acceleration or deceleration.

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    The unemployment rate did tick up from 3.8% to 3.9%, but April is the 27th month in a row in which the unemployment rate has clocked in below 4%. That’s the longest streak since the 1960s. I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how I prefer looking at the “prime-age” (25-54 years) employment-population ratio, since it gets around definitional issues that crop up with the unemployment rate (someone is counted as being “unemployed” only if they’re “actively looking for a job”) or demographics (an aging population with more people retiring and leaving the labor force every day). The prime-age employment population ratio rose in April to 80.8% — that’s only slightly below the high from last summer, and above anything we saw between 2001 and 2019 (when it peaked at 80.4%). In fact, the prime-age employment population ratio for women just hit an all-time record high of 75.5%. This by itself should tell you the labor market is strong, with more people participating in it.

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    A Strong Labor Market Is Good for Productivity Growth
    A theme of our 2024 Outlook was that we may be seeing a resurgence in productivity growth. Over the last year, productivity grew 2.9%. That is well above the 1.1% annualized pace between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2023, or the 1.5% annual pace between 2005 and 2019.

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    A key piece of this is a strong labor market, which incentivizes businesses to invest more, and that’s what you need for productivity growth. Importantly, with productivity growth, workers can see strong wage growth without necessarily pushing up inflation. Falling inflationary pressures can allow the Fed to ease interest rates. Even if rates are shifted lower by a relatively small degree, that can further boost investment and keep the productivity growth engine running. This is something we saw in the mid-to-late 1990s. A similar situation bodes well for the economy and stocks.

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