The markets ended up for the third month in a row with a late day rally on Friday, capping one of the best (albeit volatile) months in two years. With the exception of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (of 30 stocks), all indices are positive for the year. GM traded below $1 a share today as bankruptcy is likely to occur on Monday.
Opinions about the markets’ direction run the gamut from “drunken bulls” to “raging bears”, with everyone taking each up or down day to prove their point. But the solid fact is that the market is in a confirmed uptrend, and no opinion can argue with that. But that’s all they are: opinions.
Economists predict that the recession will end by the 3rd quarter of this year, but the recovery will be slow. For states like Michigan and California, recovery will likely begin in the 1st or 2nd quarter of 2010. In the meantime, we still have to deal with waning consumer demand and higher unemployment. Nonetheless, consumer confidence rankings jumped nicely in April, a bullish sign for the markets and the economy. Remember, the stock market usually leads an economic recovery by 6-9 months.
Our investment approach remains a cautious, defensive one as we closely monitor the markets for signs of sell-offs. Over the past few months, I’ve slowly increased clients’ allocations to equities and bonds to take advantage of the markets’ rallies. However, I continue to maintain a healthy allocation to cash as a defensive move should the markets begin to move against us. Any move this high, this fast, is a good reason to be cautious. Fortunately, technical indicators confirm that the bullish sentiment is higher than bearish negativity and therefore give reason to be optimistic. As billions of dollars of economic stimulus hits the streets, it can’t help but “lift all boats.”
Many prognosticators and so called experts predict that the low on March 9 was not the bottom, and that we’re merely experiencing a bear market rally. Some even predict that we may have a severe 35-40% drop from here before the economic recovery and the “real bull market” kicks in later this year. That drop could begin next week, next month, or next quarter—no one really knows. I would be remiss if I didn’t warn you about this possibility. I don’t know if they’re right or not, but everyone should nonetheless be prepared for that possibility.
For my clients, I will continue to take advantage of the upside of the markets as long as it lasts and will not simply wait on the sidelines for the bears to arrive. If or when the bears return, I am prepared to make the necessary tactical adjustments to minimize the effects on client portfolios and lock in as much of the recent gains as possible. If the bears decide to stay for awhile, then we’ll take advantage of those conditions and attempt to profit from such bearish conditions.
In any case, future annualized returns on equities and bonds are likely to be in the single digits for some time. Nonetheless, there’s no substitute for regular saving and continuous financial planning. That combination can help overcome any lower expected returns. Remember, it’s never too late to start.
I welcome your comments and feedback and invite you to read the below articles. If you have any questions, please feel free to get it touch with me and share this with your friends and colleagues.
|Market Update For Week Ending 5/29/2009|
International index is MSCI EAFE index. Bond data reflect net change in yield, not price. Indices are unmanaged and you cannot directly invest in an index.
A volatile post-holiday week ended with the bulls back in control of Wall Street and most major equity indices in positive territory for both the week and the year to date. The Dow industrials continued to lag, held back by developments at component General Motors in particular, but other benchmarks gained 3% to 5%. Foreign shares also ended in the black, while bond markets were mixed. For more on recent trading activity, please read:
Consumer Confidence Revives
The American public’s battered sense of the economy’s health revived somewhat in April. Analysts warn that while the light at the end of the recessionary tunnel may finally be in sight, it will take some time for a true recovery to begin. In fact, while the business environment seems to be improving in many parts of the country, conditions in the Midwest in particular appear to be getting worse as the auto industry lurches from crisis to crisis. For more on the latest economic indicators and what they mean for the economy, please read:
Is The Recession Nearing An End?
Some economists now say the longest and most savage economic contraction in six decades may finally be winding down. But while consumers are in relatively high spirits, both labor markets and home prices remain fragile at best as layoffs and foreclosures continue. Where are the “green shoots” that some see heralding a new cycle of economic growth? And where are the storm clouds ahead? For more, please read:
Sam H. Fawaz CFP®, CPA is president of YDream Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment advisor. All material presented herein is believed to be reliable, but we cannot attest to its accuracy. Investment recommendations may change and readers are urged to check with their investment advisors before making any investment decisions. Opinions expressed in this writing by Sam H. Fawaz are his own, may change without prior notice and should not be relied upon as a basis for making investment or planning decisions. No person can accurately forecast or call a market top or bottom, so forward looking statements should be discounted and not relied upon as a basis for investing or trading decisions.