Monday Morning Market Insights: Last Week in Review with Rusty Vanneman, Vol. 18

It was another remarkable week in the markets last week, but the simplest takeaway was that the stock market continues to press into new all-time highs.  

Markets Update 

The S&P 500 is now up nearly 13% for the year. It was up over another 1% last week. In other markets, commodities are still on fire, the U.S. dollar has essentially given back its earlier gains on the year, and 10-year Treasury yields dropped from 1.65% to 1.60% last week. And commodities come into the new week ripping higher too. This includes the energy markets that are starting strong due to one of the largest pipelines in the US closed due to a cyber-attack last Friday. The Colonial Pipeline carries nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel, and it’s not certain when it will be 100% operational.

Deeper Dive

One reason for how remarkable last week was is that we witnessed one of the more spectacular misses  in economic data in some time.  The non-farm payrolls (NFP) numbers, arguably the most important economic data release of each month (though NFP is officially a lagging indicator, it does impact policy decisions and therefore the markets including interest rates), was expected to show an increase of jobs of nearly 1,000,000 new workers. The “shadow forecast” (i.e., the “real” expectation) was probably even much higher, which created the set-up for a disappointing number anyway.

Well, it was much more disappointing than expected. The markets initially responded strongly, including sharp drops in rates and stock prices, but upon further reflection, it was ultimately deemed a good number for the markets. First, the report gives support for the Fed to keep rates low and for more fiscal stimulus. Second, additional numbers showed that average wages and average hours worked went up. The economy is expanding, and as a result, workers are getting paid more (the 0.7 month over month increase in wage works out to over 8% annualized wage growth). It also means the reopening trade will likely last longer than expected. That’s a good thing, in my opinion.

One of my early positions in my career supported fixed income and currency traders. It was a great learning experience. Among the many lessons I learned, included a few market sayings that still inform how I think about market conditions. One example is that “the market moves in the direction that causes the most pain.” In my opinion, the direction that would cause the most pain is for stock market prices to continue moving higher. Yes, there are pockets of excessive speculation among retail investors, but the markets are now dominated by professional/institutional investors. In my opinion, they are cautious, and they also aren’t taking large positions versus the U.S. market. All else being equal, in my opinion, that would suggest investors shouldn’t yet fade the momentum (absolute or relative) in the markets yet.

Economic Data

Corporate earnings season for the first quarter continues to impress, with 78% of companies beating earnings estimates and 75% are beating revenue estimates. According to Bespoke Investments data, these are some of the best earnings numbers since at least 2001. 

Lots of data coming up this week, especially inflation data.  We will get Consumer Price Index (CPI) data on Wednesday, with an anticipated increase in core CPI of 0.3%. We will get Producer Price Index (PPI) data on Thursday, with an anticipated increase in core PPI of 0.4%. Retail Sales are on Friday – expect another strong number, with consensus expectations of 1.0%.

Speaking of inflation, check out the upcoming OPS “Inflation Recipe” this Wednesday featuring some strategies from Brinker and Main Management.

Cryptocurrency

Did you see Elon Musk on Saturday Night Live? I found it fascinating and despite the media reviews I’ve seen, I actually thought Elon and the material was better than expected. You can check out the highlights here. Musk did move markets with this performance though. Dogecoin dropped over 30% after this explanation of cryptocurrencies. Outside of Dogecoin the last few days, it was a great week for Ethereum, which gained over 30% last week alone.

For more resources on the economy and markets, including Partner content, please review the OPS Financial Advisor Success Hub.

As always, please let me know if you have any feedback or questions. You can reach me at rusty@orion.com. If you have any questions on any strategy on the OPS platform, either how it should behave on a standalone basis or how it might blend with other strategies on OPS, please use research@orion.com

Have a great week!

 

1585-OPS-5/10/2021

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About Rusty Vanneman
Rusty Vanneman serves as the Chief Investment Strategist for Orion Advisor Solutions. An industry veteran with more than 30 years of investment experience, Rusty creates relevant market- and platform-related content that supports deeper, more engaging conversations with advisors and investors, educating key internal and external audiences on Orion Portfolio Solutions’ strategies and resources to help deliver favorable investor outcomes, and helps identify new investment offerings to meet growing marketplace demand. Rusty is a host of Orion’s The Weighing Machine podcast and authored the book “Higher Calling: A Guide to Helping Investors Achieve Their Goals.” Rusty has also managed multiple mutual funds and hedge funds during his career and was named one of the Top 10 Portfolio Managers to Watch by Money Management Executive in 2017. Prior to Orion’s acquisition of Brinker Capital in 2020, Rusty was the Chief Investment Officer for Orion Advisor Solutions and prior to that was the President and Chief Investment Officer of CLS Investments. Before joining Orion in 2012, Rusty served as the Chief Investment Officer and Managing Director for a multi-billion-dollar registered investment advisor (Kobren Insight Management) in the greater Boston area. His 11-year tenure at the RIA included a five-year span when the firm was owned by E*TRADE Financial where he also served as the Senior Market Strategist for E*TRADE Capital. Prior, Rusty was a Senior Analyst at Fidelity Management and Research (FMR Co) in Boston. Additional work experience includes Thomson Reuters, General Electric, and as a cattle ranch hand in the Nebraska Sand Hills. Rusty received his Bachelor of Science in Management from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he graduated with high distinction. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation and is a member of the CFA Institute. He is also a Chartered Market Technician® (CMT) and is a member of the Market Technician’s Association (MTA).