Summary: Mid-way through September, US equities are flat to lower for the month. The longer term trend is positive but the near-term outlook is unfavorable. It seems unlikely that any equity weakness will be substantial or long lived, but investors should remain on alert to heightened risk over the next several weeks. We believe that will be a good set up for gains into year end.
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Mid-way through September, US equities are flat to lower for the month (table from alphatrends.net). Enlarge any chart by clicking on it.
Summary: The macro data from the past month continues to mostly point to positive growth. On balance, the evidence suggests the imminent onset of a recession is unlikely. The largest risk to the economy is the escalation in trade war rhetoric.
The bond market agrees with the macro data. The yield curve has 'inverted' (10 year yields less than 2-year yields) ahead of every recession in the past 40 years (arrows). The lag between inversion and the start of the next recession has been long: at least 10 months and in several instances as long as 2-3 years. On this basis, the current expansion will likely last into mid-2019 at a minimum. Enlarge any image by clicking on it.
Summary: SPX, NDX, small caps as well as broad measures like the Russell 3000 - which equals 98% of total US market capitalization - made new all-time highs (ATHs) last week. Even when indices are adjusted for the dominant FAAMNG companies, the remaining 99% of stocks also at new ATHs. The trend is clearly higher, and several new momentum studies suggest that equities are likely to gain more before year-end.
If there is a reason for caution, the risk is mostly short-term (within the next month) and probably not very significant, as explained in this post.
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US equities rose for a 5th month in a row in August, gaining 4-6%. Through the first 8 months of the year, SPX is up 9% while the Nasdaq-100 is up 20% (table from alphatrends.net). Enlarge any chart by clicking on it.