The trade war has been dominating headlines this week, so we wanted to share a few thoughts and insights. First, a little background… The idea behind Free Trade is we should all specialize in whatever we can do better and cheaper than anyone else and then trade to get the things others produce more efficiently.
Just last week, Wall Street was celebrating a new milestone of fresh market highs, but the high quickly came to an end following a weekend tweet. The possibility of a trade war has been on investor’s radar for about a year, but the market has mostly been discounting the risk. The consensus is that the current administration and China have been playing hard ball, but that they would reach an agreement.
It was an eventful week on Wall Street with new records set as the S&P 500 topped its previous September highs. The major index closed at 2945 for the first time in history this last Tuesday. Among the reasons for the optimism is a better than expected earnings season so far.
With the NFL draft upon us, I thought it appropriate to write this quick note to the NFL hopefuls and draft prospects who eagerly wait to hear their name and have a chance to play on Sundays. For most of you young men, the journey has been a long one. You have been involved with football since you were a kid, endured grueling training and practices at both the high school and college levels and now it is time to reap the fruits of your labor. More appropriately to get a taste of the fame, financial security and lifestyle afforded to those who play at a high level in the League.
It’s been an uneventful week on Wall Street, with the S&P 500 trading flat through Thursday’s market close. On the fixed income side, the U.S. 10-Year Treasury is trading just below a 2.5% yield.
It was not too long ago that the markets were talking about rising yields and the competition bonds would be for stocks. It was not too long ago that the markets were talking about rising yields and the competition bonds would be for stocks. While yields were on the rise, the narrative was subjectively doubtfully on the outlook of investors taking on equity risk for only an incrementally higher expected return.
What a way to start the new year; the major world equity markets finished the first three months with strong returns. The tech heavy NASDAQ Composite Index led the way with a return of 16.49% for Q1 2019, followed by the S&P 500 at 13.07% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average came in with a gain of 11.15%. The rest of the world was not far behind, the MSCI All World Index ex US had a positive return of just over 9.5% and the MSCI Emerging Markets Index had a respectable 9.54% increase.
In the short run, a pullback is likely, but we would view that as an opportunity to put cash to work. The S&P 500 has started out strong in 2019, up 10.45% on the year. The move has been rapid. Normally when you hit technical resistance such as a 200-day moving average, people naturally look for an excuse to take profits.