Global CIO Commentary by Scott Minerd
Winding the clock back to the fall of last year, it was clear that U.S. equities, and financial stocks in particular, were a strong buy and warranted increased allocations where appropriate. I gave a top-end target estimate of around 1720 for the S&P 500 at the time. Today, my long-term view of U.S. equities remains bullish, and U.S. equities could easily be 30-40 percent higher than today’s levels within two to three years. Having said that, for a number of reasons, now does not appear to be a favorable entry point. Depending on their time-horizons, investors, many who have large unrealized gains, may want to consider booking some of those gains and reducing their equity exposure.
Historically, markets that have rallied as aggressively as U.S. equities since November 2012 (an increase of 25 percent), pause or correct to digest their advances. Also, earnings among U.S. companies have flattened and could turn negative within two to three quarters, meaning further upside can only come from multiple expansion. Of the 19 percent rise in stocks year-to-date, 16 percent has already come from multiple expansion. Finally, it appears GDP growth could be entering a soft patch as we work through a number of short-term issues such as the headwinds in housing, reduced growth in China, the full impact of the sequester, and the budget and debt ceiling debates that will take place in Washington in the third quarter – all of which will put downward pressure on stock prices. The near-term outlook for equities makes now a good time to consider the old Wall Street adage, “Nobody ever lost money by taking a profit."
Multiple Expansion Driving the Rally in U.S. Equities
The P/E multiple, defined as the ratio of price to trailing 12-month earnings, has been the main driver of the rally in U.S. equities over the past two years. The S&P 500 index has increased by over 34 percent since the beginning of 2011, of which 28 percent has come from multiple expansion. During the same period, growth in corporate earnings has slowed. The trailing 12-month earnings for S&P 500 companies rose 2.4 percent in 2012 and another 2.5 percent for the first seven months of this year, registering the slowest earnings growth in non-recession years since 1998. Without renewed earnings growth, a continued rally in stocks driven by multiple expansion may be not sustainable.
S&P 500 RETURN AND THE BREAKDOWN OF CONTRIBUTION
Source: Bloomberg, Guggenheim Investments’ Calculation. Data is annual frequency with latest 2013 data updated as of 8/7/2013.
Read a prospectus and summary prospectus (if available) carefully before investing. It contains the investment objective, risks charges, expenses and the other information, which should be considered carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus and summary prospectus (if available) click here or call 800.820.0888.
Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.
Guggenheim Investments represents the following affiliated investment management businesses of Guggenheim Partners, LLC: Guggenheim Partners Investment Management, LLC, Security Investors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Distributors, LLC, Guggenheim Funds Investment Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Advisors, LLC, Guggenheim Corporate Funding, LLC, Guggenheim Partners Europe Limited, Guggenheim Partners Japan Limited, and GS GAMMA Advisors, LLC.
Guggenheim Investments. All rights reserved.
Research our firm with FINRA Broker Check.
• Not FDIC Insured • No Bank Guarantee • May Lose Value
This website is directed to and intended for use by citizens or residents of the United States of America only. The material provided on this website is not intended as a recommendation or as investment advice of any kind, including in connection with rollovers, transfers, and distributions. Such material is not provided in a fiduciary capacity, may not be relied upon for or in connection with the making of investment decisions, and does not constitute a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell securities. All content has been provided for informational or educational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be construed as legal or tax advice and/or a legal opinion. Always consult a financial, tax and/or legal professional regarding your specific situation. Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.