Jeff’s Weekly Stock Market Commentary: Is The Federal Reserve Confused?
Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen testified before Congress yesterday—I’m sure we were all glued to our TV’s hanging on her every word…NOT! Did we really expect her to say anything new and/or to change course? I didn’t. Last week she confirmed that the economy is continuing to slow down and that poses ‘risks’ to her forecast for growth. Thus rate hikes for this month are off the table.
A brief recap for my clients (they have a life and are out enjoying it instead of parked in front of CNBC) is that our esteemed Fed Chairwoman seems to be confused. Changes in the direction of interest rates traditionally occur slowly over time so that the markets can build those projections into their investing logic.
The more visibility in the economy and the interest rate environment the easier it is for investors and money managers to structure their portfolio for the long-term.
Over the last several months I have said that I believe we have seen the market ‘highs’ (2133 on the S&P 500) and that we may see the recent lows (1810 on the S&P500) broken.
As we entered into 2016, the S&P500 had the worst first 6 weeks in the history of the S&P 500….EVER. It plunged 12%. Since then it has surged back up to 2064. If you listen to the Wall Street System pundits, you’d think that everything is fantastic!
Hmmm. I don’t agree. Let’s put this recent surge in the S&P 500 in context.
Recently, I opened up the research I normally provide to my clients during their quarterly review to a wider audience. (You can view it here) The response was amazing and the feedback from investors around the country indicates that they are not buying the Wall Street System’s story that everything is great and now is the time to buy stocks.
The S&P 500 hit an all-time high in May of 2015 at 2130. It has been downhill since then with a free-fall in the index during the middle of August where it slid to 1867. Many investors were shocked at the 12% plunge but were relieved that the markets recovered over the next two months—or did they? On January 20th, 2016 the S&P 500 was back down to 1860 and it is becoming obvious to even the most bullish investors that we may not recover for quite a while.