Monday Morning Market Insights: Last Week in Review with Rusty Vanneman, Vol. 29
Happy Monday. How about those Olympics? The athleticism and effort have been amazing to watch. There are so many interesting storylines. I’m hooked. By the way, because I know you’re wondering, how does the U.S. stock market historically perform during the Olympics? According to Bespoke Investments, since 1928 the US market is usually up just under 2% (the host country up a little bit more) during the Olympics with only a slight decrease in trading activity.
- Speaking of amazing, last week’s market action was again notable. After Monday’s sharp losses on COVID growth concerns – the sharpest loss in nine months – the overall U.S. stock market rallied the next four days. The overall US market gained over 2% on the week and basically back at all-time highs.
- This week might start off choppy like last week though. It was a tough start for markets this morning in Hong Kong and China (indices off over 3%), particularly tech stocks. The losses came after China’s antitrust regulator ordered Tencent to give up its exclusive music licensing rights and slapped a fine on it for anti-competitive behavior. Also, Chinese authorities placed restrictions on the private education sector.
- The 10 Year Treasury Yield hit a 5-month low last week, hitting an intra-day low last week of 1.12% before rebounding. It’s at 1.26.% at the time of writing. However, bond market investors have lowered their expectation of 2022 rate hikes from a 70% to 57% probability of being priced in over the last month. This sentiment remains consistent with the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) stance that current inflation levels are transitory. Though as mentioned in the latest RenMac podcast, either inflation is transitory, or Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is! In either case, we’re continuing to keep a close eye on the Fed and bond yields – and inflation.
- Last week’s price action is another reason why investors should not look at the daily financial news. The longer one can stretch out their market attention time frame, I believe the better the investor experience. For good reason, too, as a few slides in the Orion Portfolio Solutions Quarterly Reference Guide (which can be found at the OPS Financial Advisor Success Hub), shows that the chance of a positive return in the market increases each time one stretches out their time frame. For example, market history shows that only 52% of daily returns in the U.S. stock market (S&P 500) are positive, but the positive price return probability increases each longer time frame – with roughly 75% of the trailing returns showing a positive return.
- Related to investing time frames, here is a cool stat from Bank of America last week. Professional money managers’ portfolio turnover fell to a decade low last year. Their median turnover, or the proportion of shares bought and sold as a percentage of their assets, last year fell to a decade low and has stayed below 40%. For context, turnover peaked at 56% in 2012, according to Bank of America data. To re-state, the average holding period increased to 2.5 years. I bet this isn’t as quick on the trigger as most investors expect.
- One more interesting stat about professional money managers. According to a Wall Street Journal article, money managers funneled more than $900 billion into U.S. funds in the first half of 2021, a record amount and a big reason why the U.S outperformed so far this year. Then again, it’s interesting to note that while the S&P dividend yield is only 1.4%, dividend yields are still around 4% in some countries including Brazil, the UK, Italy, Australia, and Singapore.
- This week is the biggest week of the quarter for earnings, with about 165 S&P companies due to report, including Tesla, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet. As of the end of the second quarter, these five companies alone comprise 22% of the market cap of the S&P 500 index, certainly an important week! So far, earnings per share (EPS) beat rates continue to be very impressive with more than 83% of reports beating profit estimates, while a record 81% have beat revenue levels.
- On that note, look out for the FOMC Meeting Press Conference on Wednesday, July 28, we’re expecting some inflation talk as well as the Fed’s updated plans on their bond repurchasing program.
- Bitcoin rallied over the weekend, trading closer to $39,000 at the time of writing. After a tumultuous week last week with prices dipping below $30,000, Bitcoin is now trading above its 50-day moving average for the first time since May 9. We are still sitting at big gains in Bitcoin for the year, although it was down around 50% off its highs earlier this year in April.
- According to a recent NORC study, about 13% of surveyed Americans have traded cryptocurrencies in the past 12 months. Significantly, the demographics between crypto traders and traditional stock traders are quite different, with crypto traders younger and more diverse in race, ethnicity, gender, income, and education levels. These kinds of studies are certainly exciting, showing that new investment instruments are gaining traction among non-traditional investors and getting more involved in the markets. Another study by Gallup shows that about 6% of investors own Bitcoin, compared to 2% in 2018.
- Quick COVID stats, but with some good news at the end. Given that about half of the US population is fully vaccinated (though over 70% have at least 1 dose), COVID cases are rising. Some good news is that the Delta variant doesn’t appear to pose a significant risk of death or hospitalization to those who are fully vaccinated. Even better news though is the data coming out of the UK (which saw a surge first) is that cases appeared to have peaked with new cases down nearly 20% week over week through Thursday. Even better is that while the number of cases per day during the UK surge are lower, deaths were very low and falling 98% on a per capita per day base rate versus the winter wave. As Bespoke Investments wrote (source for stats above) states (and as evidently the markets noticed last week), Delta appears to be more a public health nuisance than a crisis – at this point.
- On a related topic, do you like working from home? Hat tip to Bloomberg’s John Authers (who writes a solid, albeit slightly long, daily email), regarding some research from the University of Chicago suggesting that working from home is going to last. Some stats from the study included: 6% of workers would quit instantly if their employers said they had to be back in the office five days per week next month. Another 36% would return but look for another work from home (WFH) job, and 58% would comply and return. Employees are still hoping to work from home 2.35 days per week once the pandemic is over. Currently, employers’ plans to permit 1.2 days per week.
- Did you know there’s an ETF that is a play on the WFH theme? It’s the Direxion Work From Home ETF and its ticker is (no surprise) WFH. To contrast that, there just so happens to be an ETF that is playing on the re-opening trade, specifically global travel. It’s called ETFMG Travel Tech ETF and its ticker is AWAY. How does their performance compare? Using ETF.com’s etf-comparison-tool, AWAY still has a lead over the last 12 months but has lost 10% in relative performance over the last month and 13% in relative performance over the last 3 months. Evidently, the markets care about the potential impact of COVID on consumer behavior (though my personal experience with airplanes and hotels recently suggests otherwise!).
- Another firm that has been providing interesting ETFs is ProShares. In this week’s episode of Orion’s Weighing Machine, we will be discussing the ETF industry with ProShares Scott Helfstein.
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach out to email@example.com, as Ben also contributes quite a bit to these weekly notes.
Have a great week!
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