Weekly Insight 8-1-22

2022 Midyear Executive Summary

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OVERVIEW

Markets rarely give us clear skies, and there are always threats to watch for on the horizon, but the right preparation, context, and support can help us navigate anything that may lie ahead. So far, this year hasn’t seen a full-blown crisis like 2008–2009 or 2020, but the ride has been very bumpy. We may not be flying into a storm, but there’s been plenty of turbulence the first part of 2022. How businesses, households, and central banks steer through the rough air will set the tone for markets over the second half of 2022.

The sources of turbulence are clear. A global economy that was already vulnerable to inflation from supply chain disruptions, tight labor markets, excess stimulus, and loose monetary policy came under more pressure when Russian aggression in Ukraine added sharply rising commodity prices and pushed Europe into what may be the brink of a recession. The effects have included renewed pressure on interest rates, which hurt bond investors and contributed to tightening financial conditions, and a much more aggressive stance by the Federal Reserve (Fed) and other global central banks. Add in the typical market challenges of a midterm election year and the third year of a bull market, and it’s not surprising it’s been a bumpy ride. Understandably, rising prices, slowing economic growth, and a challenging first half for both stocks and bonds have many investors on edge, and fatigue from more than two years of COVID-19 measures doesn’t make it any easier. But markets are always forward looking, so it’s important to remain focused on what lies ahead. There will most certainly be challenges, but there are also some tailwinds from a strong job market, still resilient businesses, and the likelihood that inflation will soon start to slow. Markets historically can even get a little lift from lower uncertainty around elections as midterms approach.

Turbulence cannot be avoided, but it also need not deter us from making progress toward our financial goals. LPL Research’s Midyear Outlook 2022: Navigating Turbulence is designed to help you assess conditions over the second half of the year, alert you to the challenges that may still lie ahead, and help you find the smoothest path for making continued progress toward your destination. When times are turbulent, the surest path toward progress remains sound financial advice from dedicated professionals who have logged many hours in similar conditions. Please reach out to me with any questions.

July 2022 Client Letter

July 6, 2022

Dear Valued Investor,

As the calendar has turned to July, investors would certainly like to forget the first six months of 2022. However, the Fourth of July Independence Day holiday does bring with it reason for celebration. Not only is it the 246th birthday of the United States of America, but July has historically been a pretty good month for stocks. Over the past 10 years, the month of July has been particularly good, with the S&P 500 Index averaging a monthly gain of about 2%.

Both stock and bond markets have been challenging this year, but it’s important to focus on what this tends to mean looking forward. Consider that after the eight biggest quarterly stock market declines since WWII, the S&P 500 rose an average of 6.2% in the subsequent quarter with gains in seven of eight quarters. Moreover, after the seven biggest two-quarter declines, stocks rose an average of 21.5% over the subsequent six months, rising every time.

Despite the market volatility, many portions of the U.S. economy remain relatively strong. However, easing growth expectations over the last few months have investors worried—we now expect U.S. real GDP growth to be around 2% in 2022. Front-and-center are the persistently high inflation readings, and while we do expect those to subside, they have lasted longer than our base-case expectations. High consumer cash balances and a relatively strong job market (3.6% U.S. unemployment rate) offset some of the growth slowdown caused by inflation. Taken together, we believe the U.S. consumer has some tools to weather the inflation storm, though we are going to need to see some near-term improvement in inflation to maintain our confidence in the consumer.

The apparent rightsizing of the historically negative correlation between stocks and bonds has been a welcomed development. For several months now both bonds and stocks have been going down in unison, a relatively rare occurrence. That price action sparked talk of the demise of the typical 60/40 stock bond portfolio—a conjecture that we believe is overdone. Nonetheless, the dual weakness in stocks and bonds has been decidedly uncomfortable for many. This relationship has been normalizing in recent weeks, indicating some reappearance of the historical pattern. Notably, the Federal Reserve’s policy response on inflation will be an important barometer here. However, long-term rates do historically tend to peak prior to the Fed ending its interest rate hiking campaigns, which could be good news for bonds in the coming months.

In terms of the stock market, we believe some reprieve from the price pressure could be in the offing. Many indicators are pointing to oversold conditions, although evidence of complete capitulation remains spotty. In our view, any good news on the inflation front could spark a rally. This may come to pass, especially if a recession can be averted in 2022 as we expect. Should the U.S. economy indeed fall into recession, the consensus is indicating a shallow recession may be a likely outcome. Meanwhile, we are indeed on-guard for an improved monthly inflation reading that could help revive the bulls. Maybe America’s birthday can kick-start some optimism. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney


Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of July 5, 2022.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P500) is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05300922

June 2022 Client Letter

June 1, 2022

Dear Valued Investor,

The bull market that began in March of 2020 came dangerously close to an end. From March 23, 2020 through January 3, 2022, the S&P 500 Index gained 114% (excluding dividends). From that January 3 closing high through the recent low on May 19, the S&P 500 fell nearly 19%, narrowly avoiding the level at which bull markets end and bear markets begin.

While we wait uncomfortably to see if the S&P 500 can hold its recent lows, it is somewhat reassuring to know that bear markets that are not accompanied by recessions tend to be milder:

  • Bear markets without recessions tend to last an average of about seven months, and we’re already five months into it.
  • The only bear markets that took more than 46 days to bottom after the initial 20% decline were associated with recessions—1970, 1973, 1982, 2001, and 2008.
  • Bear markets not accompanied by recessions have historically experienced smaller declines, losing an average of 24%.
  • Five of the past six non-recessionary bear markets saw the S&P 500 lose 22% or less.

Bottom line, if the U.S. economy is able to avoid recession over the next 12 to 18 months—as we expect—then this selloff may be over soon and stocks could potentially make a run at their previous highs by year-end.

That doesn’t take away from the increasingly challenging environment consumers and businesses are facing as sky-high inflation shows few signs of relenting. Recession risk is rising, increasing the chances of a larger decline—the average recessionary bear market decline is 34.8%. The Federal Reserve has taken away the punchbowl, giving markets a hangover. The cure is lower inflation, but it will take time.

Those who believe this environment is like the 1970s, 2000-2002, or 2008-2009, may want to consider more defensive positioning of portfolios. Those are the types of environments where some companies don’t survive. But if the economy stabilizes as the Fed hikes rates to tame inflation—the so-called “soft-ish landing” Fed Chair Powell aspires to achieve—then the best path forward may be to ride this out. Market timing is hard. The sharpest rallies tend to come during bear markets and are costly to miss for long-term investors.

Investors are anxious right now and understandably so. Legendary investor Warren Buffett tells us that situations like that are an opportunity to be greedy, not fearful. Sir John Templeton, another legendary investor, tells us bull markets are born on pessimism (and grow on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria). Well, we have a healthy dose of pessimism right now to provide fuel for the next rally.

Buffett’s advice makes sense but is difficult to follow in practice. For those who can fight off the temptation to sell when stocks are down and have an investing time horizon spanning more than a year or two, history suggests you will be positioned to do well. Bear market recoveries prior to record highs take 19 months on average. When not accompanied by recession, they take just seven months. From a long-term investing perspective, that’s not long to wait. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney

____________________________________________________________________________________

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of June 1, 2022.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P500) is a capitalization-weighted index of 500 stocks designed to measure performance of the broad domestic economy through changes in the aggregate market value of 500 stocks representing all major industries.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05286775

Additional May 2022 Client Letter

May 11, 2022

Dear Valued Investor,

2022 has been a challenging year for investors so far. The S&P 500 Index just had one of its worst Aprils in decades, and May is off to a rocky start. Bond investors have not fared much better as rising interest rates have pushed down bond prices. Bond losses have made the stock market volatility feel even worse than usual. Markets don’t like uncertainty but it’s getting a healthy dose of it this year, dealing with high inflation, tighter Federal Reserve monetary policy, COVID-19 shutdowns in China, and snarling global supply chains, all while the war in Ukraine continues.

Investing mistakes often take place during periods of elevated volatility. One of the most frequent is trying to time the market by jumping in and out. Market timers must be right twice, and timing the return to the market can be extremely difficult to pull off. Markets can turn quickly, and missing even just one big up day can significantly reduce returns over time. The biggest daily gains tend to come in down markets, making them especially difficult to predict. Time in the market, not timing the market, may be more beneficial to long term investors.

When markets are shaky, it can be helpful to look to long-term fundamentals that have provided the foundation of positive returns for stocks and bonds over the long run. For stocks, gains depend on the ability of corporations to grow earnings, which they have continued to do during first quarter earnings season—S&P 500 Index earnings per share are on track to increase 10% year over year. For bonds, the key fundamental has simply been the ability of borrowers to make required payments. Corporations and consumers enjoy strong balance sheets and have the financial firepower to pay their debts. While the future is always uncertain, we believe those fundamentals remain in place.

Even against a potentially supportive fundamental backdrop, the volatility we’ve seen in stocks this year is not unusual. Although negative returns for a full calendar year are infrequent, corrections are fairly common. Since 1980, the S&P 500 has been negative for a calendar year just seven times, but the average decline within any year has been 14%. Mid-term election years have tended to see increased early year volatility, as the honeymoon period for a new president ends and political uncertainty rises. Inflation can also be challenging. Years with inflation over 5% have seen more frequent stock market declines than a typical year, but stocks have still been higher more often than not.

Amid the global economic and geopolitical uncertainty, the core domestic economy is still quite stable. Weekly consumer spending data is above typical baseline levels. Job seekers are participating in a tight labor market with twice as many openings as unemployed people. Businesses are enjoying high profit margins despite cost pressures. The economy is expected to grow in the latter part of this year after a surprise contraction in the first quarter, though the growth path may be bumpy as monetary policy is recalibrated from exceedingly loose to moderately tight and consumers and businesses adjust to higher borrowing costs. Our base case is still for above-trend economic growth in 2022.

We believe patient investors stand a better chance of meeting their long-term goals. No one has a crystal ball, but at lower valuations, history suggests the chances of above-average returns going forward may be rising. It’s tough to do during times like this, but we encourage long term investors to stick to their game plan.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney

___________________________________________________________________________

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of May 9, 2022.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05279947 (Exp. 05/23)

Market Update: May 5, 2022

May 2022 Client Letter

May 4, 2022

Dear Valued Investor,

As we move into spring and leave behind the last signs of a long winter, many worries from a chilly start to the year for markets, unfortunately, are still with us. The S&P 500 Index had its worst April in more than 40 years, leaving the index down over 13% for the year. Previously highflying stocks have come back to earth, with many of them cut in half or more. And bonds, which have historically provided support during times of stock market volatility, have done little to protect portfolios.

The concerns that have contributed to the poor start are well-known. Historically high inflation, supply chains disruptions, China in another lockdown, geopolitical concerns, an aggressive Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) rate hiking campaign, and soaring yields have all contributed to the worries. Not to mention economic growth worries are spreading after the 1.4% decline in gross domestic product (GDP) during the first quarter.

Just as April’s dark storm clouds are often chased away by a brighter May, we remain optimistic that more sunshine could be coming. Yes, the GDP report showed an economy that contracted in the first quarter, but that was mainly due to drags on inventory and trade, while more important parts of the economy like consumer spending, housing, and private sector investment all accelerated compared to the fourth quarter. Additionally, 2011 and 2014 both saw negative first quarter GDP prints, followed by big rebounds in the second quarter to avoid recessions. We expect GDP to grow approximately 3% this year and avoid a recession thanks to a strong consumer and a healthy corporate earnings backdrop.

Inflation could be nearing a peak, offering a potential driver for improved confidence in the second half of this year. Used car and truck prices have come down significantly over the past two months, while shipping costs have also dropped nicely. These two bits of data suggest inflation may be past its peak, even if it may take a while for it to get back to normal. Add in supply chain normalization and the potential for a ceasefire in Ukraine to remove some upward pressure on commodities, and the Fed may not hike rates nine times as the bond market is currently pricing in.

From its early January peak, the S&P 500 has corrected 13.9% (as of April 29), right in line with the average yearly correction since 1980 of 14.0%. As uncomfortable as this year has been, this action is actually about average. Additionally, midterm years tend to be even more volatile, correcting more than 17% on average, but the index rebounded 32% on average in the 12 months following those midterm year lows. Lastly, the last 21 times the S&P 500 has been down double-digits since 1980, the index rallied back to end the year positive 12 times. Don’t give up hope yet.

The investing climate is quite challenging, but based on historical trends, we believe patience may be rewarded. Even if there may be some downside in the short term, consumer and business fundamentals remain supportive. Strong profits and lower stock prices mean more attractive valuations, and current levels may end up being an attractive entry point for suitable investors.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney


Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of May 3, 2022.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05275942  (Exp. 05/23)

Additional April 2022 Client Letter

April 28, 2022

Dear Valued Investor,

It has been a turbulent 2022 so far for investors. The S&P 500 Index is on track for its worst April in more than 40 years, the Nasdaq entered a bear market on April 26 with its more than 20% decline, and bonds, which typically provide ballast for diversified portfolios during periods of stock market volatility, have not protected.

Markets face a number of threats. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a disappointing start to the year for the U.S. economy as evidenced by the -1.4% growth in gross domestic product (GDP) reported on April 28. COVID-19 continues to disrupt global supply chains amid intermittent lockdowns in some of China’s largest cities. Russia’s devastating assault on Ukraine, arguably the biggest geopolitical threat in Europe since WWII, has added to the worst inflation problem in the U.S. since the 1970s. The bond market is pricing in nine more Federal Reserve (Fed) rate hikes, after looking for only three when the year began. That’s a lot for investors to digest.

But during a market correction it’s easy to forget that this volatility is actually quite normal.

  • The S&P 500 Index has fallen 13% peak to trough this year, below the 14% average of all years.
  • During midterm election years, the average stock market correction is 17%, but stocks rebounded 32% on average in the 12 months following those midterm year lows.
  • Of the last 21 times the S&P 500 has been down double-digits since 1980, stocks rallied back to end the year positive 12 times.
  • During those 12 positive years, the average gain has been a stellar 17%.

We will admit a double-digit gain in 2022 is unlikely, but a U.S. consumer willing and able to spend, which makes recession unlikely in the near term, and steadily rising corporate profits still make a positive year for stocks in 2022 more likely than not, in our view.

Inflation remains a big concern, but a number of factors could put downward pressure on prices beginning this summer. On the supply side, where most of the problem lies, supply chain normalization and more job-seekers coming off the sidelines could help ease pressure on goods prices and wages. An eventual cease-fire in Ukraine could remove some of the upward pressure on commodity prices. On the demand side, higher interest rates can help cool housing. The bond market is already doing some of the Fed’s work with the 10-year Treasury yield nearly doubling in four months to 2.8%. These factors could easily cut headline consumer inflation in half by year-end from the current annual pace of 8.5%.

The outlook for corporate profits remains quite positive and may help prevent stocks from pulling back much further. With about 180 S&P 500 companies having reported, double-digit earnings growth appears within reach while analysts’ estimates for 2022 have continued to rise. These numbers are excellent considering slow economic growth, supply chain disruptions, and inflationary pressures.

The investing climate is quite challenging, but history suggests patience will be rewarded. Even if there may be some downside in the short term, consumer and business fundamentals remain supportive. Strong profits and lower stock prices mean more attractive valuations. Our belief is that current levels will end up being an attractive entry point.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney

____________________________________________________________________________

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of April 28, 2022.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking # 1-05273623 (Exp. 4/23)

April 2022 Client Letter

April 7, 2022

Dear Valued Investor,

“Bull markets are born on pessimism, grown on skepticism, mature on optimism, and die on euphoria.” – Sir John Templeton

According to the guidance of revered investor Sir John Templeton, it appears to us that this market may have a bit more left in the tank. The market returns we witnessed in March seem to bear this out, as stocks surged during the month despite the backdrop of war in Ukraine, inflationary pressures, and surging interest rates. However, over the intermediate term, the path forward may only be partially defined by Federal Reserve policies, global diplomatic efforts, and rates. Why?  For one reason—earnings from corporate America remain strong and the jobs market is back to approximate pre-pandemic levels. Indeed, there seems to be plenty of skepticism, but market fundamentals have yet to be materially shaken from their foundation.

Historically, geopolitical events have typically dented market sentiment for a period, but stocks have shown a tendency to rebound rather quickly when initial pessimism subsides. Past performance is no guarantee of future outcomes of course, but the latest market rebound seems to fit historical precedents. After hitting a March closing low of 4,170, the S&P 500 Index has regained considerable ground and is hovering near 4,500 at the time of this letter.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve’s first move to raise interest rates (in March) was well telegraphed by market participants, and most expect further tightening from the central bank. The primary policy target is rising U.S. inflation, an undesirable circumstance driven by unprecedented COVID-19-induced economic volatility and a massive policy response. That has been further complicated by current geopolitical tensions. The good news is we expect inflation to come down significantly as the year progresses.

And finally, the third pillar in the latest wall of worry is new concern over yield-curve inversion.  Recently, the 10-year Treasury yield fell below the two-year Treasury yield, an occurrence that has preceded economic recessions in the past, but not always.  A similar circumstance transpired in 1998 and 2005 and no recession immediately followed, while a recession following the yield curve inversion in 2019 would have been very unlikely if not for COVID-19. So while yield curves may tell a cautionary tale and the media is quick to report on it, we do not believe a recession is imminent, given the overall strength in the economy.

To sum it all up, March has given us some signs that staying the course may be the most prudent investing decision to make. Although we warned that volatility was likely to return in 2022, and it has, we believe riskier assets, like stocks, still may present opportunities for investors. In our view, financial conditions remain favorable, earnings may continue to surprise to the upside, and economic data in many corners of the economy remain favorable. These elements help us label the recent market skepticism as potentially healthy and help us to forecast that the upswing in the business cycle may yet have a ways to go.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

Wayne Rigney

________________________________________________________________________________

Important Information

This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

References to markets, asset classes, and sectors are generally regarding the corresponding market index. Indexes are unmanaged statistical composites and cannot be invested into directly. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment and do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results.

All data is provided as of April 1, 2022.

Any company names noted herein are for educational purposes only and not an indication of trading intent or a solicitation of their products or services. LPL Financial doesn’t provide research on individual equities.

All index data from FactSet.

This Research material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Tracking #1-05265226 (Exp. 04/23)

Market Update March 15, 2022