For the second consecutive month, equity markets experienced a strong first half followed by weakness to close out the month. Volatility is likely to remain elevated as the recovery continues in fits and starts. That said, technical indicators point toward a continued uptrend in stocks, leaving our Momentum Dial in a “Positive” position.
The marketplace can be difficult to navigate. Anyone who has lived through the tech wreck in 2001 or the 2008 financial crisis knows that the ride can be bumpy along the way.
We developed a principled investment philosophy that guides our decisions to mitigate the risk of losses in the short-term, while producing competitive returns over the long-term. We identified three primary indicators: Momentum, Economic Fundamentals and Market Valuation. These indicators work in tandem to provide a heartbeat for the market.
Our investment philosophy is known as the Three Dials.
The global economic recovery continues, as the Q4 GDP number for the US was revised upwards and estimates for 2021 are coming in around a +4.5% real growth rate. An increase in vaccination rates should have a direct impact on economic growth, and supportive fiscal policy has helped stem the fallout from increased unemployment. Overall, improving leading indicators leave our Fundamental Dial with a “Positive” reading.
Valuation remains a moderating force for us, as certain areas of the market have begun to exhibit bubble-like behavior. For instance, 2021 has seen a flood of new (largely unsophisticated) buyers entering the market to chase returns, thus pushing up equity prices to potentially unsustainable levels. While we are not calling for an imminent crash, we simply see the risks in this area as being elevated, which places our Valuation Dial in a “Negative” position.
On balance, our Three Dials composite reading continues to take a “Cautiously Optimistic” view, as strong showings in the areas of Momentum and Economic Fundamentals are balanced by Valuation concerns.