The U.S. markets closed out the 3rd quarter and posted strong year-to-date (YTD) returns. The S&P 500 closed out the quarter up 20.5% YTD (including dividends), while the Dow Jones Industrial Average posted gains of 17.5% YTD (including dividends).
In last week’s Market Update, we discussed the Fed cut and low yields. We wrote about the low and flat bond yield curve and low yields on the S&P 500, which have driven investors to stocks that have paid an attractive, reliable and increasing dividend. We also introduced the alternatives asset class; another area that we think will benefit from the current yield environment. The three main asset classes are: stocks, bonds and cash; alternative assets are everything else, such as private equity, private credit and private real estate.
Fed chair Jerome Powell and the rest of the Federal Open Market Committee members concluded their scheduled two-day meeting on Wednesday. As expected, the Fed cut their short-term interest rate target by 25 basis points to 1.75%-2.0%.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce of the passing of Surevest client, Andrew Lee. He passed away Easter Sunday April 21st 2019 at age 23. Four years earlier he was diagnosed with a rare kidney cancer, hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell cancer (HLRCC), which currently has no known cure. Doctors told Andrew he may only have a year to live. With this news, Andrew and his family immediately looked for any new clinical trial which might help him. Andrew was referred to The National Institute of Health where research through clinical trials is having some success for HLRCC.
Andrew volunteered for 7 different experimental trials, sometimes being the first one to receive the new treatment. Andrew approached each clinical trial with a positive attitude. More incredible is what Andrew created during his short time; Driven To Cure.
The second quarter earnings results are wrapping up and the numbers are better than expected. At the end of the second quarter, the consensus believed earnings would decline in the S&P 500 by -2.7% (Year-over-Year)[i]. As of market close on Thursday, 96% of companies had reported their numbers and it appears the final number will not be as bad as analyst thought.
On Wednesday the bond yields inverted for the first time since 2007 causing a big down day in the markets. Traders and algorithmic programs began to sell even though the inversion happened for a brief period and closed without the inversion. The Surevest Investment Committee does not believe investors should panic as we will discuss this this week’s market update.
The U.S. equity markets started the week with a strong sell off due to China’s retaliation to President Trump’s tweet last week, which said the U.S. would put 10% tariffs on $300 billion of additional imports from China. Out of the $550 billion the U.S. imports from China, there is currently a 25% tariff on $250 billion.
The Fed concluded its fifth scheduled Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) last Wednesday and delivered a mix message that caused a late day sell off on Wall Street.
The buzz on Wall Street for the next couple of weeks will be on earnings results. The markets are paying close attention if companies are beginning to feel the affects of the U.S. and China trade dispute. According to FactSet, at the beginning of the quarter, analyst expected earnings decline for the S&P 500 of -2.7%.