After Wednesday’s news from the Federal Reserve, we all know that an interest rate increase is coming–even if we don’t know when. Could be 2022. Could be 2023. And even if we don’t know how many increases we’re looking for in that time period. Could be one. Could be two. The need to revise your portfolio to take that change in monetary policy is obvious. But figuring out how and when isn’t by any means straightforward. What gives? And how should be navigate a period that is almost certainly going to end with a reversal of the lower for longer interest rates that have dominated asset prices for decades? Today, for the last installment in my Special Report: “5 Picks and 5 Hedges for a Falling Market” I’m going to take one last run at how to hedge this market and how to position your portfolio for the developing trends. (I don’t have much hope that this will be the last time I’m visiting this topic, of course.)
Sure looks like a market struggling with rotations between growth and value stocks. One day the growth stocks sell off on fears of higher interest rates and rising inflation or something–and because after such a strong rally in the style growth stocks are very expensive. And that same day value stocks move higher because increasing economic growth is a very, very good thing for a style that depends on a strong economy for much of its revenue gains. The next day the market’s preference reverses and growth again outperforms value. What’s a poor investor to do? Especially the long-term investors with very long time horizons that are the focus for my new “Millennial Portfolio (for investors with more time than money.)” How about a few stocks that offer both growth and value? I’ve got two stocks today that I’m going to add to the Millennial Portfolio: Deere (DE) and Southern Copper (SCCO)
U.S. GDP growth slowed in the fourth quarter, gaining just 1% from the third quarter. For the full year the U.S. economy contracted by 3.5%. That makes 2020 the first time that the economy has contracted for a full year since 2009 and the Great Recession. At the bottom of that recession that economy contracted by 2.5%. 2020 is also the worst year for economic growth since 1946 when the economy shrank by 11.6% as the country demobilized after World War II. Consumer spending slowed in all 15 categories tracked by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The sectors that had powered the recovery in the third quarter–restaurants and hotels, for instance–reversed. The growth in spending on cars and health car also slowed from the acceleration in the third quarter. So why is this good news as far as the stock market is concerned?
Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a May 17 deadline for the Trump administration to submit a proposal NAFTA revision to Congress–if President Trump wants this Congress to vote on a revised agreement. The odds of an agreement emerging from current talks and moving on to Congress on that schedule are just about nil. At the same time news of significant horse trading is coming out of U.S.-China trade talks.