The stock market is very highly priced at the moment and many think we are in the middle of a “melt up”. With that in mind, many are constantly on the lookout for warning signs that the market might be ready to tumble. Well, some are appearing. The big warning sign is that credit spreads are widening and implied volatility is picking up. It is very unusual for this to occur during a rally, as it usually happens during corrections. This warning comes on top of other red flags, such as stretched investor sentiment, and very positive earnings revisions.
FINSUM: The bond market has long been known for leading the stock market, and credit spreads are one of the indicators we tend to take very seriously. Definitely something to pay attention to.
With the stock market as nuts as it is, there has been preciously little talk about the real estate market. While housing did somewhat dodge a bullet because interest deductions were not entirely done away with in the recent tax overhaul, some think the market is ripe for a big fall. By some indicators, the market is overheated, with hefty price gains and wide optimism, leading some to hear echoes of 2005. However, generational factors seem likely to bolster the market as Millennials age into home ownership and Baby Boomers sell their homes and move into assisted and planned communities.
FINSUM: The market probably won’t fall legitimately until we have another recession. However, given the fact that Millennials (the largest generation) are just entering the home buying age, it appears there will be robust demand for years.
Barron’s has published a very curious article. The piece takes a look at the market and spends a great deal of time showing how the current stock market is both technically and fundamentally sound. The economy is good, market momentum is strong, the rally has good breadth—the whole nine yards. Yet, its overall tone is that investors need to be worried, and prepare themselves for the inevitable downturn. One way to prepare would be to cut out the weakest stocks in your portfolio (likely all with gains, but less than others) as these are likely to fall harder than the best performing stocks. Additionally, consider cashing in some chips, and also, importantly, defining clearly when you will pull out, whether it is when a trend line is broken or at a 10% loss etc.
FINSUM: This market is very rich, but also incredibly hard to time (as always). However, there could still be a lot of gains before a correction arrives.
In a sign that should make all retail employees shudder, Amazon has finally launched its staff-less store. The store has no staff and no checkout, a development the company calls “just walk out” shopping. Shoppers are tracked by sensors all over the store, and the system allows Amazon to just automatically charge them when they leave. The concept is technically called Amazon Go, and this newest convenience store is Amazon’s thirteenth brick and mortar location in the US.
FINSUM: In our view, this is absolutely genius. While we hate the idea of fewer retail jobs, and don’t support that, Amazon is basically developing a way to get rid of the tedious checkout line.
The Wall Street Journal has published that we consider an important and engaging piece about the US auto industry and its disconnection with the direction of the rest of the world. While other major markets, like Europe and Asia, are moving to an ever-cleaner, ever-smaller, ever more electric paradigm, the US is moving further into the “bigger is better” mantra and cutting fuel standards. The disconnection has at its heart two components—the first is Trump’s very different view of climate change and environmental regulation, and the other is cheap gasoline.
FINSUM: We don’t think this disconnect is any cause for alarm in the near-term, but investors should consider that if political winds change (such as in the mid-term elections), then regulations could change quickly, leaving US automakers with a bad product mix.