Monday Morning Market Insights: Last Week in Review with Rusty Vanneman, Vol. 16

Happy Monday! Hope you had a nice weekend. It was another nice Sunday in Omaha—so nice my kids made me go mountain-biking on some great, “more-technical-than-you-might-expect” trails. It was a blast, and nobody crashed and burned, but I think I’m going to be a bit sore for a few days!  

Taking a Look at the Markets

It should be another interesting week in the markets. We have plenty of catalysts for market movement, including the Federal Reserve meeting, plenty of big earnings reports (particularly in large tech), inflation data, and the debut of President Joe Biden’s “American Families Plan.”

Last week, the overall market finished strong and basically near all-time highs, but still essentially unchanged.  Market leaders last week included small caps, emerging markets, and commodities.  The notable laggard was Bitcoin.

We are still on track for a great month of returns in the stock market. The YTD return for the overall US market is still nearly 12%. 

It seemed like the hottest topic in the financial press in recent days was the potential tax impact from President Biden’s plan. The initial news from last Thursday, which the stock market didn’t like, had a few hints as to what the opening salvos will be. This topic will likely dominate the news cycle for a while, as the details get negotiated in the weeks ahead. Bottom line, taxes are likely going up (barring some extraordinary event that stalls the rapidly improving economy), though likely not as much as the early indications suggest. Either way, looking back at past market history, the impact on the stock market from increased taxes has been muted. 

Let’s Talk Inflation

First quarter GDP is released this coming Thursday, but arguably a more pivotal economic number this coming week is Friday’s inflation data (Core PCE price index). Inflation is a concern for some investors, and for good reason. According to First Trust investments, the Producer Price Index (PPI) is up at an annualized rate of 7.6% the last 6 months, and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is up 3.6% annualized over the same time frame.  Yes, these gains are partly transitory because of some extremely negative data points rolling off the 1-year numbers, but there are also legitimate supply chain problems coupled with a surge in economic demand.   Money supply has also grown over 25% the last 12 months. Some markets are reacting sharply to all this, including the commodity markets such as lumber, oil, and grain prices.

The bond market, however, is apparently unconcerned about inflation, at least in recent weeks. Ten-year Treasury yields were basically unchanged last week, dropping to 1.58% from 1.59% the Friday before.  

Bitcoin and Beyond

Though apparently off to a nice start this week, crypto had another tough week last week, with Bitcoin dropping under $50,000. It was just at $65,000 less than 2 weeks ago.  There are a few reasons cited for the losses, but really, it’s been on fire this year and due to cool off.  

About a third of the companies in the S&P 500 will report earnings this week, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet. So far, 25% of the companies in the S&P 500 have already reported and 84% are beating earning expectations—a rate that if maintained, will tie the highest beat rate since FactSet began tracking this stat in 2008.

With continued improvement in the economy, the “Big Money” keeps getting more bullish. Check out plenty of big money views in the latest Barrons’ issue

This remains a great time to be a financial advisor. Did you know that according to Gallup, owning stocks was still more common in the years from 2001 to 2008 (when an average 62% of U.S. adults said they owned stock) than it is now? In fact, even with household incomes of at least $100,000, 16% still don’t own any stocks. And that number grows to 35% that don’t own a single stock for households that have incomes between $40,000 and $100,000. 

Congrats to the Kentucky Wildcats for winning their first NCAA volleyball championship—and the SEC’s first for that matter, too. 

Have a great week! For more resources on the economy and markets, including Partner content, please review the Orion Portfolio Solutions Financial Advisor Success Hub


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About Rusty Vanneman
Rusty Vanneman, CFA, CMT, serves as Chief Investment Strategist of Orion Portfolio Solutions. He has been with Orion since 2012, previously serving as President and Chief Investment Officer of CLS Investments. Prior to joining the Orion organization, Mr. Vanneman served as Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director for an RIA in the greater Boston area. His 11-year tenure at the RIA included a five-year span during which the firm was owned by E*TRADE Financial, where he also served as Senior Market Strategist for E*TRADE Capital. He also served as a Senior Analyst at Fidelity Management and Research in Boston. Mr. Vanneman received a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from Babson College, where he graduated with high distinction. He is a CFA charterholder and member of the CFA Institute. He also holds the Chartered Market Technician® (CMT) designation and is a member of the CMT Association.