As it stands right now the S&P 500 is less than 2% from hitting all time highs. The tech heavy Nasdaq 100 is even closer with less than 1.5% to go. This usually builds much anticipation from investors and financial media. If one were to look at the gains on the year for the S&P 500 that may build even more bullish excitement. The S&P 500 is higher by over 15% already this year and it’s only the 4th month. The Nasdaq 100 broke the 20% level on Friday which all is very impressive. Here’s the issue with the markets potentially hitting all time highs...again. Not everyone can celebrate together! Some will still be disappointed, and some will be happy but still nervous.
See, in every market move there are different emotions that come into play. In 2017 the markets seemed to hit new, all-time highs each and every day. Imagine the emotion of investors at that point. At no point was anyone scared or feeling like they were missing out. This means that there really were no sellers as everyone was winning. Now look at the chart below of 2018 and you see that anyone invested early in the year saw a 10% gain on their investment (S&P 500) which was then followed by all of the 10% being erased PLUS another 10%!
Another way to think of the emotion felt? In December of last year everyone who invested anytime in the last 23 months had a loss. Now imagine the emotion of such a large group of investors. Sure, they see that markets are calm and headed for highs now, but not everyone has the same, or even similar gains. For this reason you have different emotions. Some will be using the all time highs to exit where they started and others are still trying to figure out why they don’t have double digit gains that everyone is talking about. All this creates different emotions which cause investors to do crazy things.
Best case scenario, this article is proven wrong and we return to 2017 type markets. We hit new highs every day this year leading to more and more investors simply staying the course. Worst case, all those emotional investors use the all time highs to sell and “wait for a pullback.”
Our job here at Jazz Wealth is to make sure our investors are invested correctly during all the noise. We also love to teach and educate so our clients are always one step ahead of the emotion.
As you may know, Jazz Wealth is a teaching firm and one of the things we are passionate about is keeping our clients updated on the markets, and their investments. Next week we will hold a short class for clients of Jazz Wealth where we review the details of the month ahead and what we may expect. Here is a taste...
The first quarter of 2019 is officially over and goes down as the best quarter since 2009. As far as first quarters go it ranks as the best since 1998. You may remember that in just the first two days of the year (Jan 2-3) the S&P 500 sold off 2% which was something had only happened five other times in the S&P 500’s 90+ year history. After the December selloff, and the weak start to the year many investors did not have a favorable outlook for 2019. Retail investors pulled $44 billion from their 401k investments to sit on the sidelines and, by now are surely regretting it.
For the first quarter, the Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ: QQQ) comes in as the best performer with a gain of 16.6%, and the worst performing index (which is still not so bad) is the Dow Jones Industrial Average (NYSE: DIA) with a gain of 11.12%. Many investors give the Dow a pass since over 20% of the gains that the index missed out on are due to Boeing (NYSE: BA) and the grounding of their 737 Max jets.
Sector wise, big tech (NYSE: XLK) wins out with a gain of almost 20% for the quarter. Healthcare continues to be the under performer though 61% of all analysts that cover the sector are bullish with buy ratings. Financials are also at the bottom of the list with gains of only 8%. Banks continue to shake off the pounding they took in the last two weeks from the Federal Reserve's decision to leave rates unchanged, likely for the rest of the year.
Just for fun, if you want to look around the world for the best performing markets you would come across China. But we keep hearing that China is falling apart right? Almost every market in China is at the top of the best performers list. China (NASDAQ: MCHI) currently ranks at the top with a gain of 18.64%. Hong Kong (NYSE: EWH) sits at the top as well will 16.13% gains on the year.
Another area where the media may have you concerned is in the UK. There is no doubt that Brexit is a mess and seems to have no real resolution in sight but that hasn't stopped them from a 12.47% gain on the year. Surely they could have enjoyed more growth if there wasn’t the concern of the final decision on Brexit.
So what can we expect going forward? Well, it depends on what data you want to use. If you look back over the last 10 years the second quarter offers the lowest odds of being a positive quarter. Only 60% of the time it finished positive with an average gain of 1.4%. If you look back over the life of the markets you would find slightly better odds of 62% of the time Q2 being positive after a positive Q1. Average gains in the second quarter when it does finish positive is 1.9%. FYI: Historically the third quarter is the weakest of all.