We hear a lot of coined terms thrown around by talking heads involved in the economy and it’s analysis. One is the “yield curve inversion” and how this ‘event’ marks a clear sign of upcoming recession. Yield curve inversions are when shorter-term government bonds have higher yields than long-term ones. This has been a hot topic of discussion in economic and market circles as everyone tries to determine where markets are going next.
Inflation causes prices of goods and services to increase. Consumers can purchase fewer goods per dollar, input prices go up and revenues and profits go down. If economic growth accelerates very rapidly, demand grows even faster, and producers raise prices continually. In all, this action, slows down the economy so that supply & demand can recoup and become stable again. So, we understand on a base level what this does to our pocketbook but what does it mean for our savings and investments.
While I remain confident that the U.S. equity market will eventually outperform in 2021 there will almost certainly be a greater degree of volatility in the second half of the year. With the double-edge sword that is vaccinations and the Delta Covid variant, economic restrictions are likely to lead to a slowdown in global growth.
Under the CARES Act, individuals were eligible to take $100,000 of coronavirus-related distributions from retirement plans. In addition to the distributions being free of penalty there are also accommodations with the IRS for claiming the income as well as repayment of the distributions.
The performance and enthusiasm of November will be hard to top. In the month of November, the Dow gained 11.8% - this is the best November since 1928. The S&P 500 rose 10% and Nasdaq 11%. Transports, Industrials, Financials all enjoyed their best month since April of 2009. Also, the Dow hit the coveted all time high of 30,000. Some believe that November may have taken some of the steam from December’s momentum however, both the consensus and Fed both agree that growth should be about 4% next year. As we wrap up the year, there are obviously a few reasons for pessimism over the next two months but there are more reasons for optimism over the next 12 to 18 months.
Making trade and investment decisions based solely on big events is hardly ever an effective strategy. Having said that, there were obvious concerns about how this year’s election would affect markets and planning strategies. The best thing to do would have been to pick an allocation which you felt comfortable with and ride whatever wave came along with the election results. Some investors sat the sidelines, some bought what they thought might be winners in whatever their assumed outcome scenario was. All in all, what occurred is what I mentioned in our previous election commentary blog – the markets only care that there IS a President.
Mike and I recently reflected on the past decade of the markets, and now that the New Year has come and gone, we can set our sites ahead for the future. The week of January 6th will be the first full week of trading after our holiday hangover. Market sentiment is a mixed bag and it appears that everyone has a wait and see attitude – this is a juxtaposition of where we were this time last year.
The last few years of a bull market are always a bit of a mystery to professional investors; the market rises faster than it did in the early, cautious years when nobody believed there WAS a bull market, even though there appear to be fewer fundamental or economic reasons for it. The current bull market churns on, even if nobody can explain it, and people who bail out in anticipation of a downturn do so at the risk of missing out on an untold number of months or years of (still somewhat inexplicable) gains. As nice as the returns have been domestically, international stocks this year have been even kinder to investment portfolios.
The Federal Reserve has once again raised interest rates by 25 basis points, but is still maintaining their placid stance toward economic policy. This allowed equities last week to end a tumultuous week with a slight uptick. The expectation is that the Fed is going to continue to raise rates very slowly.