Market Update: June 12, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

Last Week’s Market Activity

  • Nasdaq tumbled 1.8% Friday, its biggest one-day drop since June 2016. Tech weakness, attributed to crowded investor positioning, outsized 2017 gains, and cautious sell side commentary, powered substantial value outperformance relative to growth. Dow, Russell 2000 gained (0.4%), while S&P 500 ended flat.
  • Energy (+2.5%) led Friday’s market action, followed by financials (+1.9%);both benefited from tech outflows.
  • Treasuries fell modestly, helping banks (10-year Treasury yield ended at 2.20%).
  • Dollar and WTI crude oil up, COMEX gold down.Dollar rise dragged gold down 0.6% to >$1270. Oil gained 0.4% to ~$46/bbl, boosting the energy sector attempted recovery from inventory-driven losses earlier in the week. Copper rose for the third straight session.
  • Muted reaction to U.K. election as pound sold off (which eroded U.K. returns for U.S. investors) but U.K. stocks in local currency generally shrugged off surprise election result.
  • Mixed week. Friday’s rotation was evident in weekly performance with Dow (+0.3%), Russell 2000 (+1.2%) faring well, S&P 500 down slightly (-0.3%), Nasdaq down sharply (-1.6%). Despite the week’s big political stories, broadest equity market averages didn’t move much.

Overnight & This Morning

  • S&P 500 down as Friday’s technology sell-off carries over into morning trading.
  • Technology weakness weighed on Asian markets:Nikkei slipped 0.5%, Shanghai Composite lost 0.6%, Hang Sang fell 1.24%. Spillover into Europe as well. Core European markets down nearly 1% in midday trading.
  • Treasuries unchanged, dollar is lower vs. euro and yen; Gold is little changed.
  • Oil rebound (+1.6%) follows Friday’s gains as the commodity struggles to maintain support in the mid $40s.
  • More European election results. French President Macron’s party set for a big parliamentary majority following Sunday’s first-round vote. Regional Italian elections saw anti-euro 5-Star Movement underperform. In the U.K. we’re watching the formation of political alliances to determine potential Brexit/trade impact.
  • Trump administration’s focus this week to be on apprenticeships, jobs following last week’s infrastructure push.
  • Financial regulation also making headlines as Dodd-Frank revamp accelerates and parts of the DOL’s Fiduciary Rule go into effect. Look for easing of regulatory burden on smaller financial institutions, positive for regional banks.

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Key Insights

  • Reflation rotation? Friday’s sharp moves (technology down and financials, energy and small caps up) appeared to be rotation from areas that have been working to those that haven’t given the broad averages did not move much. Technology was a source of funds for energy, financials, and small cap purchases, areas that tend to benefit from stronger economic growth, higher interest rates and inflation. We still favor the technology sector and, for those currently underweight the sector, we would view further weakness as a potential opportunity to add exposure.
  • We expect a rate hike on Wednesday and will be watching closely for clues about the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) rate path for the rest of 2017. Market participants will scrutinize the Fed statement and press conference for any changes to economic growth or inflation outlooks, and any additional details regarding balance sheet normalization. We remain on the fence about whether we get another hike in 2017 after the presumed move this week but, regardless, we see modest additional return potential for both stocks and bonds over the balance of the year.
  • Market warning to Fed? The fact that markets are pricing in a flatter trajectory of rate hikes moving forward, and that even relatively short-term two-year Treasury yields are flat compared to levels seen in the aftermath of the Fed’s March meeting, may be the market’s way of warning the Fed that, with inflation expectations broadly contained, being too aggressive with rate hikes in the near term may harm growth.

Macro Notes

  • Big drop for tech. Technology dragged the Nasdaq down 1.8% for its third worst day of the year and its worst week year to date (-1.5%). What made this big drop unique was it came the day after setting a new all-time high. Other than a 2.6% drop in May, you have to go back to March 2000 the last time there was a larger drop from an all-time high for the Nasdaq.
  • When does the June swoon happen? We noted at the start of the month that June has historically been a weak month for equities and over the past 10 years only January has been worse for the S&P 500 Index. Taking a closer look at the monthly performance though shows it is usually the second half of June that tends to see most of the weakness. With the Fed and Bank of Japan on tap for meetings this week, could it be time for some volatility?

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Monthly Budget Statement (May)
  • Japan: Machine Orders (Apr)

Tuesday

  • PPI (May)
  • UK: CPI & PPI (May)
  • UK: Retail Price Index (May)
  • Germany: ZEW Survey (June)
  • China: Industrial Production

Wednesday

  • CPI (May)
  • Retail Sales (May)
  • FOMC Rate Decision (June 14)
  • Yellen Press Conference
  • Germany: CPI (May)
  • Eurozone: Industrial Production (Apr)
  • UK: Jobless Claims (May)
  • UK: Unemployment Rate (Apr)
  • New Zealand: GDP (Q1)
  • Japan: Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization (Apr)

Thursday

  • Empire State Mfg. Report (June)
  • Philadelphia Fed Mfg. Report (June)
  • Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization (May)
  • US Treasury International and Capacity Utilization (May)
  • US Foreign Net Transactions (Apr)
  • BOJ: Policy Balance Rate and 10-Yr Yield Target
  • Bank of England: Bank Rate Decision

Friday

  • Housing Starts (May)
  • Building Permits (May)
  • Eurozone: New Car Registration (May)
  • Eurozone: CPI (May)
  • Russia: GDP (Q1)
  • Bank of Russia: Key Rate Decision
  • China: New Loan Growth and Money Supply (May)

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

 

Market Update: June 5, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

Last Week’s Market Activity

  • Solid Friday and holiday-shortened week for stocks… and more record highs. S&P 500 gained +0.36% on Friday, +0.96% for the week to end at a record high (2439.07). Nasdaq led major averages Friday (+0.94%) and for the week (+1.54%). Small caps beat mid and large (Russell indexes).
  • Tech drove Friday’s gains, led by semis and software. Financials hit by lower rates and yield curve flattening post jobs miss. Energy was the biggest decliner on falling oil prices.
  • Weaker dollar helped COMEX gold Friday (+0.8%) but not WTI crude oil (-1.4%)
  • 10-year yield dipped 0.06% to 2.15%, lowest closing level of 2017 and lowest since just after the election
  • Friday miss on U.S. nonfarm payrolls unlikely to sway Fed next week (details below)
  • Defensive tilt to weekly performance. Telecom topped weekly sector rankings, followed by healthcare. Oil fell > 4%; 10-year Treasury yield dropped 0.10%.

Overnight & This Morning

  • Stocks in Asia mostly lower amid relatively light news
  • In Europe, shares down (Euro Stoxx 600 -0.2%), continuing Friday slide
  • Weak sentiment after more terrorist attacks in London over the weekend
  • Euro up 0.3% to $1.12
  • Commodities – Mostly lower, led by weakness in industrial metals and energy, with WTI oil near $47/bbl. COMEX gold (0.3%) adding to Friday’s gains at $1283, copper (-0.7%)
  • U.S. stock, Treasury yields up slightly.
  • U.S. dollar mixed vs major currencies

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Key Insights

  • Goldilocks environment. Steady but not booming job gains and inflation leveling off suggests economy is not too hot, not too cold. Wage gains are benign-average hourly earnings +2.5% YoY in Friday’s May jobs report. We’ve seen a mixed set of data recently: soft Q1 GDP, Q2 tracking near +3%, and earnings looking good. The Fed Beige Book cited most Fed districts continue to expand at a modest or moderate pace. Sounds like Goldilocks.
  • Any concern that the Fed may be behind the curve are misplaced, at least for now. The market is only pricing in a 44% chance of another rate hike in 2017 (after one in June), and just one hike in 2018.
  • An expensive stock market can stay expensive. The 17.7 times forward price-to-earnings (P/E) multiple, where it stood in early 2015, is more reasonable than the trailing PE (20.7) for the S&P 500 but is still at the high end of the historical range. We reiterate valuations are not good predictors of near-term stock market moves, an important message for clients.

Macro Notes

  • Jobs miss doesn’t mean Fed pause. The economy added 138K new jobs in May, well below consensus expectations of 185K, with additional downward revisions for March and April; unemployment rate edged lower to 4.3% from 4.4% on lower labor participation rate. The report may give the Fed some pause, but given the overall backdrop a June hike remains far more likely than not.
  • The China Caixin Manufacturing PMI index was below 50 when reported last week, but overnight the services PMI was 52.8, much better than last month’s 51.5. The overall composite number of 51.5 suggests a continued, but slowing, expansion in the Chinese economy. We expect the government to continue to try to reduce leverage in the economy, but not to engage in any major reforms until after the Communist Party meeting this fall.

MonitoringWeek_header

  • Politics and central banks highlight the week ahead. Politics and central banks highlight the coming week, with Thursday, June 8 of particular importance as it brings the U.K. general election, the European Central Bank (ECB) meeting, and testimony of former FBI Director James Comey. Data of note in the U.S. includes durable goods and Services Institute for Supply Management (ISM). Overseas, Eurozone and Japan Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and Chinese inflation and money supply data are due out.

Monday

  • Nonfarm Productivty (Q1)
  • Unit Labor Costs (Q1)
  • ISM Non-Mfg. Composite (May)
  • Factory Orders (Apr)
  • Durable Goods Orders (Apr)
  • Cap Goods Shipments & Orders (Apr)
  • UK: Markit/CIPS UK Services PMI

Tuesday

  • Eurozone: Markit Eurozone Services PMI (May)

Wednesday

  • Eurozone: GDP (Q1)
  • Japan: GDP (Q1)
  • Japan: Current Account Balance (Apr)
  • Japan: Trade Balance (Apr)

Thursday

  • Germany: Industrial Production (Apr)
  • UK: General Election, 2017
  • ECB: Draghi
  • Japan: Machine Tool Orders (May)
  • China: CPI & PPI (May)

Friday

  • Wholesale Sales & Inventories (Apr)
  • France: Industrial Production (Apr)
  • UK: Industrial Production (Apr)
  • UK: Trade Balance (Apr)
  • China: Money Supply and New Yuan Loans (May)

 

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC

Market Update: May 8, 2017

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks in Asia were mostly higher with Nikkei & South Korea’s KOSPI surging +2.0% on positive vibes carrying over from U.S. jobs growth and Emmanuel Macron victory. South Korea’s election tomorrow looks to end a nine-year run for the ruling conservative party, which has been caught up in scandal. Hang Seng +0.4% while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.8% to the lowest levels in more than six months amid Beijing’s efforts to rein in financial leverage.
  • European stocks are holding steady after opening down slightly and two strong weekly gains that essentially priced in the Macron victory. The broader Euro Stoxx 600 is up ~+9.0% YTD. The euro slipped -0.5% to 1.09, but note that the common currency has climbed in five of the past six days and has been trading near its highest levels of the past six months.
  • U.S. markets are slightly lower after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed Friday at record levels. The dollar is up +0.3% after four consecutive weekly declines. The 10-year yield is higher at 2.37%. Oil is holding on to $46/barrel and COMEX gold is up 0.3% after dropping more than 3% last week.

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French Elections

  • Macron victory essentially eliminates fears of worst-case scenarios: wave of populist victories threatening viability of currency and European Union (EU).
  • First election without either of two leading parties in Fifth Republic.
  • Still plenty of challenges–Macron must form alliances with Socialists, the party he left, to offset alt-right anger, potential lack of cooperation heading into parliamentary elections in June.
  • Euro-Stoxx 600 +2.0% last week and flat/down today.
  • Euro (~1.09) down 50 basis points today but stronger vs. dollar and other currencies past month.
  • Eurozone gross domestic product (GDP) and inflation both approaching +2.0% annual growth and this vote suggests trajectory can be maintained, accelerated with economic reforms in France.
  • European Central Bank (ECB) must remain accommodative near term, though, because Italy is the next challenge.

 Oil Prices

  • WTI fell -0.6% last week to $46/barrel as increased shale production in U.S. offsets Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) production cuts. To be sure, the announcement in November helped drive oil to ~$55, yet the increased profitability for higher cost producers in North America was evidently too good to pass up.
  • We expect OPEC to extend their production cuts at the next meeting in Vienna on May 25. Wall Street consensus is still bullish, projecting a range of $50-55/barrel over the next twelve months.
  • Recent sell-off largely technical in nature over supply concerns. WTI broke through 200-day moving average and failed to hold the new low for the year ($45) and a key Fibonacci retracement level. Frenzied trading in Asian markets ensued on Thursday, yet oil volatility was at its highest level in six months and relative strength (RSI) indicates oversold position.
  • “It’s different this time” – the U.S., not Saudi Arabia, is now the world’s swing producer and although OPEC has largely held on production cuts, U.S. rig counts are up.
  • We remain neutral on the energy sector as supply-demand adjustments still point toward a range of $50-$55 for WTI as OPEC cuts likely persist.

Earnings

  • Strong earnings season got even better last week. S&P 500 earnings for the first quarter rose more than 1% over the past week and are now tracking to a 14.7% year-over-year increase, compared with the 10.2% increase reflected in consensus estimates on April 1 (Thomson Reuters data). Both the earnings growth and beat rates (75%) are the best in more than five years. Excluding the rebounding energy sector, earnings are still on pace to grow a solid 10.5% year over year. About 40 S&P 500 companies will report results this week as earnings season winds down.

 

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  • Companies have delivered mostly upbeat guidance. Forward estimates inched fractionally higher last week and are down just 0.2% since earnings season began. Although the timetable for policy, particularly corporate tax reform, has been pushed out, we still see potential policy upside in 2018. The relatively bright outlook is helping support elevated valuations at an S&P 500 price-to-earnings ratio of 17.5 times.

Sell in May

  • Time to go away? The well-known “Sell in May and go away” period is upon us. Although this is one of the most widely known investment clichés out there, since 1950[1], historically the next six months are indeed the worst six months of the year for the S&P 500. So should you sell and wait to buy in November? We take a closer look at this cliché and show why it doesn’t always work and might not work this year.

Winning Streak

  • Up three weeks in a row. On Friday, the S&P 500 closed at its first all-time high since March 1 and in the process rose for the third consecutive week. It was also the first green Friday for the S&P 500 in nearly two months (March 10). This was the second three-week win streak of the year, with the earlier streak making it all the way to six weeks in a row (ending in early March). There hasn’t been a year with two separate six-week win streaks since 2013.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Eurozone: Sentix Investor Confidence (May)
  • China: Foreign Direct Investment (Apr)
  • China: Trade Balance (Apr)

Tuesday

  • NFIB Small Business Optimism (Apr)
  • Germany: Industrial Production (Mar)
  • BOJ: Summary of Opinions at Apr 26-27 Meeting
  • China: New Loan Growth & Money Supply
  • China: Consumer Price Index (CPI) & Producer Price Index (PPI) (Apr)

Wednesday

  • Monthly Budget Statement (Apr)
  • ECB: Draghi Speaks

Thursday

  • Initial Jobless Claims (May 6)
  • PPI (Apr)
  • Eurozone: European Commission Economic Forecasts
  • UK: Bank of England Rate & Inflation Report
  • ECB: Publishes Economic Bulletin

Friday

  • CPI (Apr)
  • Retail Sales (Apr)
  • Germany: GDP (Q1 Prelim.)
  • Germany: CPI & PPI (Apr)
  • Eurozone: Industrial Production (Mar)

 

 

 

[1] Please note: The modern design of the S&P 500 stock index was first launched in 1957. Performance back to 1950 incorporates the performance of predecessor index, the S&P 90.  

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: November 21, 2016

© Provided by CNBC

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks higher to begin holiday-shortened week. Equity markets are modestly positive this morning after gaining for the second week in a row; though the S&P 500, Dow, and Nasdaq each fell 0.2% on Friday. The healthcare sector (-1.1%) underperformed, led lower by biotech, while no other sector moved by more than 0.5%. Overseas, both the Nikkei and the Shanghai Composite advanced 0.8% overnight, while European markets are ticking higher in afternoon trading. Elsewhere, last week’s strength in crude oil ($47.65/barrel) has carried over as the commodity is up another 2.8% ahead of next week’s official OPEC meeting in Vienna, COMEX gold ($1214/oz.) is up 0.4%, and the yield on the 10-year Treasury is a couple of basis points lower after finishing the week at 2.34%, its highest close in over a year.

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  • Final earnings push to the finish line. With just a couple dozen S&P 500 companies left to report Q3 2016 results, Thomson-tracked earnings for the index are tracking to a 4.2% year-over-year gain, representing a 5% upside surprise. Excluding the energy sector’s earnings declines, earnings on pace for a solid 7.5% year-over-year gain. As impressive as the Q3 upside has been, the minimal 0.8% drop in estimates since October 1 for the next four quarters, including a small increase over the past week, has been particularly noteworthy and we think bodes well for the next two or three quarters.

earnings-dashboard-11-21-16

  • Another weekly gain for the S&P 500. The S&P 500 gained 0.8% for the week last week, but what is more worthwhile is it did this after gaining more than 3% the week before. Incredibly, this is now 10 consecutive times that the week after a 3% gain was green. Leading the way again were small caps and mid caps, as both the Russell 2000 and S&P 400 Midcap indexes closed at new all-time highs on Friday. The Russell 2000 is now up 11 consecutive days for the longest winning streak since 12 in a row back in 2003.
  • Holiday shopping preview. Although the market’s attention has been squarely on the election for the past several weeks, we should not forget how important this time of year is for the U.S. economy. Consumers are in good shape, with low financial obligations, steady job and wage gains, and high consumer sentiment measures. This, along with retailers’ back-to-school shopping increases and the solid stock market performance in 2016, suggest the National Retail Federation’s 3.6% forecast for year-over-year holiday sales growth may be doable. We do not necessarily expect these sales gains to translate into outperformance for the consumer sectors, but we do not expect them to spook markets.
  • Housing, manufacturing, and the consumer in focus this week as investors await the OPEC meeting. While a high-level OPEC meeting is set for Monday and Tuesday this week, the official OPEC meeting in Vienna isn’t until November 30. Until then, investors will digest Black Friday sales figures, which have become much less important in recent years, along with data on home sales, durable goods orders, and the Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing. The Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) will release the minutes of its November 1-2, 2016 meeting this week as well. Other than the key German IFO data for November, it’s a fairly quiet week for international events and data, aside from a speech by European Central Bank (ECB)President Mario Draghi early in the week.
  • Welcome to Thanksgiving week. Historically the week of Thanksgiving has had a slight bullish bias, as do most trading days around major holidays. Over the past 20 years, the average return during the week of Thanksgiving for the S&P 500 has been 0.8%, positive 65% of the time (13 out of 20). Looking at the day-by-day performance, Monday has the best average return, up 0.5%, although Wednesday has been higher more often, 70% of the time. Surprisingly, the best Thanksgiving week over that timespan was 2008, when all four days were green and the S&P gained 12.0%. The worst? All four days in 2011 were red and the index fell 4.7%.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • OPEC Meeting in Vienna
  • ECB’s Draghi Speaks in Strasbourg

Tuesday

  • OPEC Meeting in Vienna

Wednesday

  • Durable Goods Orders and Shipments (Oct)
  • Markit Mfg. PMI (Nov)
  • FOMC Minutes
  • Eurozone: Markit Mfg. PMI (Nov)
  • Japan: Nikkei Mfg. PMI (Nov)

Thursday

  • Germany: Ifo

Friday

  • Advance Report on Goods Trade Balance (Oct)

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. A money market investment is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although money markets have traditionally sought to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in such a fund. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. Technical Analysis is a methodology for evaluating securities based on statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices, volume and momentum, and is not intended to be used as the sole mechanism for trading decisions. Technical analysts do not attempt to measure a security’s intrinsic value, but instead use charts and other tools to identify patterns and trends. Technical analysis carries inherent risk, chief amongst which is that past performance is not indicative of future results. Technical Analysis should be used in conjunction with Fundamental Analysis within the decision making process and shall include but not be limited to the following considerations: investment thesis, suitability, expected time horizon, and operational factors, such as trading costs are examples. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Update: November 14, 2016

© Provided by CNBC

MarketUpdate_header

  • Stocks near flat as bond yields continue to rise. U.S. markets are little changed in early trading, though the bond market continues to make waves as the yield on the 10-year Note (2.25%) is up another 10 basis points from Friday’s close. Last week saw the S&P 500 post its largest weekly gain in more than two years (+3.8%) with the heavily-weighted financial sector leading the way, up 11.4%; rate-sensitive utilities, consumer staples, telecom, and real estate all closed lower on the week. Asian markets were mixed overnight; Japan’s Nikkei (+1.7%) climbed following a better than expected Q3 gross domestic product (GDP) release, while the Hang Seng lost 1.4%. European markets are mostly higher in the afternoon session, though they have pulled back from earlier levels alongside a drop in oil, which is down 1.2% to $42.90/barrel as supply concerns weigh on the price. Finally, COMEX gold ($1211/oz.) continues to sell off and the dollar index (+1.0%) has carried over last week’s momentum, approaching two-year highs.

MacroView_header

  • Earnings recession ending with a bang. Corporate America is delivering a strong end to earnings recession, with the S&P 500 tracking to a 4.1% year-over-year earnings increase (approximately 7.4% excluding the energy sector). The 71% beat rate has led to a roughly 5% upside surprise to prior (October 1, 2016) estimates. S&P 500 earnings estimates for the next four quarters, which dipped just 0.1% over the past week, have continued to hold up well during earnings season, losing slightly more than 1%. Look for more from us on earnings in the upcoming weeks in our Corporate Beige Book and Outlook 2017.

earnings-season-dashboard

  • What a week. Last week was historic on many levels. Among the highlights: the S&P 500 gained 3.8% for its best week since October 2014, the Dow gained 5.4% for its best week since December 2011, bonds were hit very hard as the 10-year yield spiked 21% (the most ever, using reliable data going back 50 years), the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) had its third-largest weekly drop ever (down 37%), biotech had its best week in seven years, small caps gained more than 10%, microcaps did even better by adding 12%, and financials tacked on 11% – their best week since May 2009. We are not surprised that stocks recovered from the initial post-election selloff; but rather how swiftly. There were several factors behind the sharp turnaround, including the certainty of the outcome, optimism regarding a peaceful transition, anticipation of market-friendly policies, and negative investor sentiment heading into the election.
  • Post-election standouts include financials, healthcare and industrials. The outlooks for financials, healthcare, and industrials appear to have brightened meaningfully and energy and small caps may get a boost. The near-term may continue to be volatile for emerging markets, though we maintain our positive intermediate-to-long-term view on that asset class amid attractive valuations, earnings stabilization, and expected moderation of Trump’s views on foreign trade. Look for more on potential election impacts in our Outlook 2017, due out later this month.
  • Japanese GDP upside surprise. Japanese Q3 economic growth was much higher than expected, increasing 2.2% on an annualized basis, compared to expectations of a 0.8% increase. Trade was the surprising variable, with exports higher and imports lower than expected. While this is good news for the economy overall, data from key sectors like business and consumer spending were largely consistent with expectations. That data, combined with measures of inflation also released, suggest that internal Japanese demand remains relatively weak, despite the better GDP headline.
  • Chinese economic data was slightly weaker than expected, and flat over previous releases. China released industrial production and retail sales overnight. Industrial production grew at 6.1% year over year, slightly less than the 6.2% increase expected. Consumer spending increased 10% year over year, a good gain on an absolute basis, but still below the 10.7% expected. Overall, the data from China continue to show stabilization in the economy, but there is much work to do as the government attempts to guide the economy from an industrial and export orientation toward a more consumer-oriented consumer economy.
  • Key data on inflation, housing, manufacturing, and the consumer along with Fed Chair Yellen in the week ahead. Late last week, Federal Reserve Bank (Fed) Chair Janet Yellen added a last minute appearance before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress for November 17, and that appearance is the key to this week’s calendar. Data on inflation, housing, manufacturing, and consumer spending will also draw plenty of attention. In addition to Yellen, there are more than a dozen other Fed speakers on the docket this week, presumably preparing markets for a December rate hike. Overseas, key data on GDP (Japan) and industrial production and retail sales (China) were released over the weekend, while later in the week a key speech from European Central Bank (ECB) President Draghi and data on GDP (Eurozone), ZEW (Germany) and CPI (UK) are on tap.

MonitoringWeek_header

Monday

  • Kaplan (Hawk)
  • Lacker (Hawk)

Tuesday

  • Retail Sales (Oct)
  • Empire State Manufacturing Report (Nov)
  • Fischer (Hawk)
  • Germany: ZEW (Nov)
  • Eurozone: GDP (Q3)

Wednesday

  • NAHB Housing Market Index (Nov)
  • Bullard (Hawk)

Thursday

  • Housing Starts and Building Permits (Oct)
  • Yellen (Dove)
  • Mexico: Central Bank Meeting (Rate hike expected)
  • China: Property Prices (Oct)

Friday

  • Leading Indicators (Oct)
  • George (Hawk)
  • ECB’s Draghio speaks in Frankfurt
  • APEC Leaders Summit in Peru

 

 

 

 

Important Disclosures: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. A money market investment is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although money markets have traditionally sought to preserve the value of your investment at $1 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in such a fund. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, political risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are subject to interest rate risk and opportunity risk. If interest rates rise, the value of your bond on the secondary market will likely fall. In periods of no or low inflation, other investments, including other Treasury bonds, may perform better. Bank loans are loans issued by below investment-grade companies for short-term funding purposes with higher yield than short-term debt and involve risk. Because of its narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, disease, and regulatory developments. Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the U.S. government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value. However, the value of fund shares is not guaranteed and will fluctuate. Investing in foreign and emerging markets debt securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical and regulatory risk, and risk associated with varying settlement standards. High-yield/junk bonds are not investment-grade securities, involve substantial risks, and generally should be part of the diversified portfolio of sophisticated investors. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Investing in real estate/REITs involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. Technical Analysis is a methodology for evaluating securities based on statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices, volume and momentum, and is not intended to be used as the sole mechanism for trading decisions. Technical analysts do not attempt to measure a security’s intrinsic value, but instead use charts and other tools to identify patterns and trends. Technical analysis carries inherent risk, chief amongst which is that past performance is not indicative of future results. Technical Analysis should be used in conjunction with Fundamental Analysis within the decision making process and shall include but not be limited to the following considerations: investment thesis, suitability, expected time horizon, and operational factors, such as trading costs are examples. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Does a Trump Presidency Put Municipal Bond Tax Exemption At Risk?

President-elect Trump has called for increased spending to rebuild infrastructure. This, coupled with calls for tax reform, has municipal bondholders nervous that the federal government will limit or end the tax exemption on their bonds as a way to partially pay for this program. Although possible, we do not believe this is probable for the following reasons.

Municipal bonds have long been the primary financing vehicle for infrastructure spending in the United States. The federal government has stayed largely out of the process, allowing states to price their own deals. The belief has been that this lowers net interest cost as it is more efficient to finance on the local level. Although the federal government could use the revenue, we think that ending the municipal bond tax exemption could lead to court challenges. While tied up in court, new projects might be delayed or canceled, leading to pressure on politicians. This, coupled with the increased borrowing costs as investors demand more yield for the volatility, would diminish the benefit of new revenues collected from municipal bonds.

Another reason we do not see this as probable is the negative impact on the largest buyer, the retail investor. According to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA), more than 40% of municipal bonds, totaling more than $1.6 trillion, are held by individuals. This number increases to 70%, or more than $2.6 trillion, when mutual fund holders (including money market mutual funds) are included. Many holders are elderly and rely on tax-exempt income for retirement. They constitute an active voting group that would be very unhappy with changes to its fixed income payments. In addition, they could seek legal recourse because bond deals were marketed and sold to them as tax-free.

muni-bond-holders

In conclusion, the increased costs associated with restructuring the bonds would likely be prohibitive. And even if a change occurred, the process would take years and the bonds that have already been issued would more than likely be grandfathered. In other words, all bonds issued before the tax changes would likely remain tax exempt, increasing the value of existing municipal portfolios. We will continue to watch this issue as more certainty around the incoming Trump administration’s plan of action emerges.

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. Investing in stock includes numerous specific risks including: the fluctuation of dividend, loss of principal and potential illiquidity of the investment in a falling market. Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond and bond mutual fund values and yields will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Municipal bonds are subject to availability, price, and to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rate rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. Indices are unmanaged index and cannot be invested into directly. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Market Impact of a Trump Presidency

Donald Trump emerged as the winner last night of a hotly contested presidential campaign and will be inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States on Friday, January 20, 2017. The transition to a Republican presidency and Trump’s rejection of politics as usual, which drew so many voters, naturally lead to questions about his impact on the economy and markets. Today on our blog we provide a high level overview of our thoughts of the significance of a Trump presidency.

ECONOMY

Does Trump’s win change LPL’s view on the economy over the remainder of 2016 and into 2017?

The election results have not changed our long-term outlook for the U.S. economy. We will continue to monitor many important economic indicators, including the Five Forecasters, the Current Conditions Index, and the Recession Watch Dashboard, and will keep you updated in the event of any changes to our views.

Will the election results cause a recession?

Elections do not in and of themselves cause recessions. Policies can, however, and we need to wait to see which policies Trump moves forward with and the details of those policies.

Our Recession Watch Dashboard continues to point to an overall low risk of recession within the next year.

What impact might the election have on overseas economies and markets?

Trade has been a major theme in this election, yet a president’s ability to impact trade directly and immediately is somewhat limited. Trump has been outspoken in favor renegotiating NAFTA terms and has been opposed to the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), which has little chance of passing. The Trump victory raises some concern across foreign markets about U.S. trade.

FED

Will the election results impact Fed monetary policy later this year and in 2017?

We do not believe the election results have changed the Fed’s outlook. Furthermore, we believe the Fed is much less sensitive to financial markets than most people think. As it stands, we believe the Fed is on course to increase rates at its December meeting, with another 2-3 increases in 2017. It would take a major market disruption or a change in the economic fundamentals for the Fed to alter this course.

EQUITIES & FIXED INCOME

Will the election result cause a bear market in equities?

Just as an election does not cause a recession, it does not cause a bear (or bull) market. Government policies alone do not change the market’s long-term trend, although they are a factor.

Shorter term, elections are rarely a harbinger for a sell-off, and when they have been, the election has not been the primary cause. In election years since 1952, the S&P 500 has returned an average of 2.5% in November and December and has been higher 75% of the time. From Election Day until Inauguration Day, the S&P 500 has averaged a gain of 1.0% and has been higher 69% of the time. The median return jumps to 3.0% because of a nearly 20% drop in 2008 that skews the average return, but 2008 returns were fundamentally driven by the recession, not Obama’s election. The bottom line is some near-term volatility is likely, but a massive sell-off absent an economic recession has never happened in the period between the election and inauguration.

Are the near-term results impacted by the party of the President?

There doesn’t appear to be much of a difference in equity performance over the short term. Since the election in 1952, the final two months of the year have returned 2.6% when a Republican wins and 2.4% when a Democrat wins. Looking at the largest drops the final two months of an election year in 2000 (Republican victory) and 2008 (Democrat victory) stand out, as the S&P 500 dropped 7.6% and 6.8%, respectively. Both times the economy was either in a recession (2008) or about to fall into a recession (2000) – which greatly contributed to the equity weakness. With the end of the earnings recession, improving consumer confidence, and the best quarterly GDP print in two years – we presently have an improving economic backdrop, which should help contain any large downside moves in equities the rest of 2016.

Which sectors would likely benefit under Trump?

Biotech and Pharmaceuticals: Although Trump has stated his desire to repeal the ACA and has favored drug re-importation from other countries, controlling drug prices is unlikely to be as high of a priority for him as it would have been for Clinton. As a result, biotech and pharmaceutical companies may get a bump. We believe the market may have overreacted to perceived policy risk and we continue to favor the healthcare sector, which has historically performed well after elections.

Energy: Trump is likely to be positive for fossil fuels. He has promised less regulation on drilling, along with expansion of drilling areas. The segment of the industrials sector that services the energy sector may also benefit.

Financials: The Trump administration is likely to be easier on financial regulation than Clinton would have been. Trump has indicated he would like to roll back financial regulations, including the Dodd-Frank legislation enacted as a result of the financial crisis. Trump has also suggested bringing back Glass-Steagall, which would separate traditional banking from investment banking, a move we see as very unlikely.

How will the election impact the dollar and bonds?

Dollar: Trump’s policies are likely to be relatively negative for the U.S. dollar. His comments on renegotiating U.S. debt held by foreigners may limit the attractiveness of bonds to foreign investors.

Bonds: We saw an initial Treasury rally as stocks sold off overnight, but yields have since moved higher. We expect there may continue to be additional volatility as markets digest the news, but we broadly believe markets may be pricing in a rise in deficit spending, which is pushing yields higher; though continuation of low rates overseas is an offsetting factor, potentially keeping rates somewhat range bound over the near-term.

Will Trump’s policies lead to a debt downgrade?

Trump had mentioned last spring the possibility of renegotiating our debt and paying back less than the full amount if the economy were to falter. This idea, if implemented, would almost certainly lead to a debt downgrade. However, he backed away from this idea a few days after he floated it.

More realistically, Trump has signaled higher deficit spending. While deficit spending was a contributing factor to the U.S. debt downgrade by S&P in August of 2011, it wasn’t the only reason. The main driver of the downgrade was the debt ceiling crisis, as Republicans demanded a deficit reduction package before they were willing to join Democrats in raising the debt ceiling. Divided government and partisan politics led to months of debate and an eleventh hour deal that avoided a default. With Republicans keeping control of the Senate and the House, a fight over the debt ceiling fight that could threaten the U.S. credit rating is unlikely.

COMMODITIES

What is the election impact on gold?

Gold can thrive in chaotic environments and the uncertainty surrounding Trump’s policies could offer some support to the commodity.

What is election impact on oil?

When discussing oil, it is important to remember that oil stocks and crude oil can have very different performance, even though investors often expect similar returns.

Trump’s victory is likely a positive for oil stocks, especially in the short run. He has promised reduced regulations on oil and gas production, which would improve profitability of existing projects and may result in a very marginal increase in U.S. production. Note, this may be a negative for energy prices.

VOLATILITY

Will volatility increase due to the election outcome?

We expect that market volatility will likely increase. Equity markets have experienced abnormally low volatility recently, in part because of central bank intervention. As those interventions decrease, volatility should increase. However, we view that increase as a healthy aspect of equity markets. The degree to which the election results impact volatility will depend a great deal on which policies are actually enacted as a result of the changes in Washington.

 

 

 

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. Investing in stock includes numerous specific risks including: the fluctuation of dividend, loss of principal and potential illiquidity of the investment in a falling market. Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. Currency risk is a form of risk that arises from the change in price of one currency against another. Whenever investors or companies have assets or business operations across national borders, they face currency risk if their positions are not hedged. Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, geopolitical events, and regulatory developments. Because of its narrow focus, investing in a single sector, such as energy or manufacturing, will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. The S&P 500 Index 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 has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

What Happens Historically After Elections?

As America heads to the polls tomorrow to elect our next leader, many questions have come up. The most logical from an investment point of view is what will happen to equities. We addressed this important subject last week in Could There Be A Big Sell-Off After The Election? Taking another look at this, today we’ll break down what has happened historically from election day until inauguration day.

Going back to 1952*, the S&P 500 has gained from election day until inauguration day in 11 out of 16 elections for an average return of 1.0%. The median return jumps up to 3.0%, as things are greatly skewed by the huge 19.9% drop during the financial crisis.

what-happend-from-election-day-till-inauguration-day

The reality is if the economy is on firm footing and not in a recession (2008) or falling into a recession (2000), most the time the returns have been rather strong for the S&P 500. Considering the economy currently is probably the best economy an incoming president has inherited since Clinton in 1992, this could be another plus for equities after this election.

Last, here’s another look at all the returns after elections since 1952.

market-returns-after-elections-since-1952

 

 

 

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The economic forecasts set forth in the presentation may not develop as predicted. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide or be construed as providing specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual security. Investing in stock includes numerous specific risks including: the fluctuation of dividend, loss of principal and potential illiquidity of the investment in a falling market. * Any data prior to March 4, 1957 is back-tested, as published by the index’s parent company, S&P DOW Jones Indices. All information for an index prior to its Launch Date is back-tested, based on the methodology that was in effect on the Launch Date. Back-tested performance, which is hypothetical and not actual performance, is subject to inherent limitations because it reflects application of an Index methodology and selection of index constituents in hindsight. No theoretical approach can take into account all of the factors in the markets in general and the impact of decisions that might have been made during the actual operation of an index. Actual returns may differ from, and be lower than, back-tested returns. The S&P 500 Index 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. Indices are unmanaged index and cannot be invested into directly. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect fees, expenses, or sales charges. Index performance is not indicative of the performance of any investment. This research material has been prepared by LPL Financial LLC.

Cast Your Vote at the Polls, Not Your Portfolio

On “CBS This Morning”, Rob Kapito, President of BlackRock, counseled investors to keep the long-term in mind as they confront investing in an uncertain election season, drawing on insights from BlackRock’s latest Investor Pulse Survey.

This survey shows the election is looming large in the minds of investors. It finds nearly two-thirds of Americans say the election has impacted their investment decisions over the past year. About one-third feel the election poses a threat to their financial future.

Source: BlackRock

As Yahoo Turns: Shareholder Mutiny Begins Another Soap Opera

Marissa Mayer: FILE - In this Jan. 7, 2014, file photo, Yahoo president and CEO Marissa Mayer speaks during the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Yahoo’s stock is up Thursday, March 24, 2016, before the opening bell on a report that an activist shareholder will launch a campaign to replace its board.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

SAN FRANCISCO — Shareholder rebellions at Yahoo are becoming like presidential elections — they are happening every four years.

Activist investor Starboard Value launched a widely anticipated mutiny Thursday in a letter announcing its intent to overthrow Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and the rest of the company’s board. It marks the opening salvo in a battle for control of Yahoo Inc. that could drag into the summer.

This is the third attempted coup at Yahoo since 2008, all led by different shareholders fed up with different management teams’ fruitless attempts to turn around the company.

The two previous uprisings in 2008 and 2012 culminated in Yahoo giving board seats to the dissident shareholders. The unrest also contributed to the departures of two of Yahoo’s previous CEOs, company co-founder Jerry Yang and Scott Thompson.

Now, Mayer’s job is in jeopardy as a prolonged revenue slump at Yahoo deepens nearly four years into her reign as CEO.

“We have been extremely disappointed with Yahoo’s dismal financial performance, poor management execution, egregious compensation and hiring practices, and general lack of accountability,” Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith wrote in Thursday’s letter.

As part of a process known as a proxy fight, Starboard nominated nine alternative candidates to oppose Mayer and Yahoo’s other current directors at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in June.

The list of alternatives includes Smith, who has been publicly skewering Yahoo for the past 18 months in an attempt to pressure Mayer into taking drastic steps that he believes will boost the company’s stock price.

Starboard, which owns a 1.7 percent stake in Yahoo, engineered a 2014 proxy battle that tossed out the entire board of Darden Restaurants Inc., the owner of Olive Garden.

In a statement, Yahoo said it would review Starboard’s nominees and respond “in due course.” The Sunnyvale, California, company snubbed Smith’s request for representation on its board two weeks ago when it appointed two directors with no ties to Starboard.

The tussle with Starboard comes at a pivotal time for Yahoo. The current board is currently wrestling with a decision to sell Yahoo’s Internet operations to a list of bidders that could include Verizon Communications, AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp., or stick to Mayer’s latest plan to revive the company.

Mayer is in the process of laying off 15 percent of Yahoo’s workforce and closing unprofitable services, while trying to pull off a complicated maneuver that would spin off Yahoo’s Internet operations into a newly created company.

If the split is successful, Yahoo would then be left with highly prized stakes in China’s Alibaba Group and Yahoo Japan. Those holdings are the main reason that Yahoo’s stock has more than doubled since the company hired Mayer away from Google in July 2012.

But the stock has dropped by about 30 percent in the past 15 months, driven by a downturn in Alibaba’s shares as well as a loss of investor confidence in Mayer.

“I can’t believe she is still there,” said Phil Davis, CEO of PSW Investments, which sold its holdings in Yahoo in 2013. “They just make bad decision after bad decision over and over again. You almost think anybody else would be an improvement.”

After subtracting its ad commissions, Yahoo’s annual revenue has fallen from $5.4 billion in 2008 to $4.1 billion last year with another decline projected for this year. The erosion has occurred even though advertisers have been steadily boosting their digital spending, but most of that money has been flowing to Google and Facebook.

While continuing to back Mayer, Yahoo’s board last month hired three investment banks to help evaluate potential bidders. Analysts have estimated that Yahoo’s Internet operations, including popular email, sports and finance services, could fetch anywhere from $4 billion to $8 billion in an auction.

BGC Financial analyst Colin Gillis expects Starboard to push for the sale with the backing of most Yahoo shareholders.

“A lot of people want to see Yahoo’s value to be unlocked via a sale, but this board seems to lack some urgency in getting that done,” Gillis said. “This (proxy fight) should help keep the board honest.”

Written by Michael Liedtke of Associated Press

(Source: MSN)