The Forward View is Always the Market’s Obsession

CAMS Weekly View from the Corner – Week ending 6/5/2020

June 8, 2020

In the last few months we have only focused on market behavior within these Weekly Views.  Historically, we offer a peek into various aspects of economic data to continue to share the general backdrop of the economic structure.

Entering in COVID19 and said economic data was fully expected and actually did take a tremendous fall.  There was little need to focus on what was already known in that an economic cliff-dive was assured.

Uncertainty was the absolute overriding theme and a little less or more people hitting unemployment was not going to change the macro uncertainty.

At epic times such as those days back then (and surely more such times will be in our future) a complete focus on market behavior is the prescription for a strategist, tactician or even an everyday market participant.  This is akin to flying the proverbial plane by instruments only when visibility is completely void.

The “instrument panel” for markets is the collective reasoning that radiates off of them through the countless number of forward thinking views and hence decisions (buy “x” sell “y”) that leave an end result in its collective wake of uptrend – downtrend – or no trend.

The resulting trend gives us a sense of what the collective market participant expectation is a few months down the road.  Thinking back to late March when the market had already displayed an initial uptrend off its lows (to the bewilderment of most) it was offering a “see-through” of the current COVID19 economic malaise to better days out there in the near-future.

Enter this past Friday’s outsized positive employment report for the month of May and we can see what collective market participants were “seeing” back in March.

On a personal note, this past week in particular, I cannot recall a time where more questions, confusion and near resentment toward the market and how it could go upward in the face of so much uncertainty from remaining COVID19 unknowns to societal turmoil.

Yet again, through the forward view of the market, are collective participants seeing better days ahead?  Seems impossible?

It always seems impossible in the moment both when the market is going up in the face of endless negative economic/societal backdrops and also when markets are going down, in good times, before there is a hint of economic issues (also to the bewilderment if not frustration of most) in the moment as the forward focus of collective participants reveals they do not like what they see down yonder on the timeline.

If there was ever a time when visibility outside the “market cockpit” is poor at best this is one of those times.  With this, we continue to focus on what the market instruments are telling us with a completely open mind that they may be right with better days ahead and yet, may be wrong and upon realization of this do a rapid southbound turn.

A fellow market tactician friend of mine likes to consistently offer the phrase “stay flexible/be nimble” of which I in-turn share with you.  Just because the market has trended upward the last couple of months does not lock in assured continued uptrend for the whole of 2020 and yet, it may just do so as its forward assessment continues to see better days ahead.  Either way, stay flexible – be nimble.

I wish you well…

Ken Reinhart

Director, Market Research & Portfolio Analysis

Portfolio Manager, CAMS Spectrum Portfolio

Footnote:

H&UP’s is a quick summation of a rating system for SPX9 (abbreviation encompassing 9 Sectors of the S&P 500 with 107 sub-groups within those 9 sectors) that quickly references the percentage that is deemed healthy and higher (H&UP).  This comes from the proprietary “V-NN” ranking system that is composed of 4 ratings which are “V-H-N-or NN”.  A “V” or an “H” is a positive or constructive rank for said sector or sub-group within the sectors.

This commentary is presented only to provide perspectives on investment strategies and opportunities. The material contains opinions of the author, which are subject to markets change without notice. Statements concerning financial market trends are based on current market conditions which fluctuate. References to specific securities and issuers are for descriptive purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as, recommendations to purchase or sell such securities. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest for the long-term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. PERFORMANCE IS NOT GUARANTEED AND LOSSES CAN OCCUR WITH ANY INVESTMENT STRATEGY.