I’d like to quote Roseanne Roseannadanna in response to questions about what ‘caused’ the recent stock market drop, “It’s always something-if it ain’t one thing it's another.” The world is a complicated place, and things are always changing. The one constant is that there has ALWAYS been something to worry about.
This market year is not as fun as last year, but we have discussed that the tailwinds of the past few years are inexorably becoming headwinds. We see the increased volatility that occurs with change, but that is further exacerbated by computer-driven trading programs and year-end tax loss harvesting. No one knows whether a market decline is nearing its conclusion or whether it is just beginning.
But here is what we do know. NO ONE ever made fortunes by consistently buying high and selling low. It is good practice to deploy new funds over time and not all at once; to nibble at lower prices and to ensure that your asset allocation reflects your risk tolerance. Declines are just part of the markets. Make sure you can afford to be down, and wait it out instead of buying high and selling low.
The U.S. and global economies continue to grow- but as we have said over and over, at a slowing pace. The confluence of slower growth, QE becoming QT, rising rates and tariff-caused business uncertainty will continue to become headwinds. We aren’t market timers- valuations are the key for us. Accordingly, it is unlikely that this is ‘the big kahuna.’ Do note that, as we have predicted, interest rates have not broken out decisively to the upside. Indeed rates plummeted in this past week. This is because while the inverse correlation of old is not as strong, we have yet to be proven to be in a new rising rate environment that will take out the long-term trend. A slowing economy coupled with increased debt issuance will provide the recipe for rates to really try for a run-up. We aren’t there yet.
There is a lot of noise out there about inverting yield curves. The only yield curve inversion that counts is the 2/10, and while we are close, we aren’t there. Keep in mind the inversion presages problems 6 months-16 months ahead which is EXACTLY the timeframe for economic slowing that we have been discussing with you, our clients for over a year.