Weekly Market Update with Brian Ransom 12 May 2023
Welcome to the weekly market update from Signature Wealth Management. I’m Brian Ransom, Research Director from Signature Wealth and here’s what happened in the market this week.
Over the last month, the S&P has been stuck in a fairly volatile, very tight sideways trading pattern as the market decides A. whether we’re in a recession or not, B. whether that recession will be shallow or deep, and C. whether inflation is falling fast enough.
In the news this week, inflation fell once again for the month of April to 4.9% year-over-year. Bank failure fears have shifted to regional bank, PacWest. And the debt ceiling fight rages on in Washington. No deal has yet been made on the debt ceiling to avoid a government default.
Taking a closer look at inflation, while the year-over-year rate fell to 4.9%, the month-over-month reading remained stubbornly high at .4%. We really need lower month-over-month readings for the next year in order to hit the Federal Reserve target rate of 2%. In fact, that month-over-month rate needs to be at .2% or below for the next year to get us close to that 2% target. .3% gets us closer to 3.7% year-over-year. The current rate of .4% would put us exactly at 4.9% for the next year. And any increase of the month-over-month rate from .4% would show a year-over-year increase in inflation for the next year. Which means the Fed might not be as willing to cut rates like many investors think as long as the month-over-month rate remains above .2%.
Whether or not we are in a recession is anyone’s guess. There are an impressive number of conflicting signs in the market and the economy and certainly no one knows exactly how severe a possible recession might be. I would posture that, regardless of the severity, the volatility is not over just yet. Shown here is a historical graph of small cap performance as measured by the Russell 2000 relative to the S&P 500 large cap index. In time periods following a recession, once a recovery has officially began, you typically see small cap stocks outperform large caps for an extended duration. We saw this in the years following the Dotcom crash, the global financial crisis, and the Covid pandemic. Small cap stocks typically have higher risk, higher reward properties that investors desire once the coast is clear. Today, we are seeing the complete opposite with small caps falling over the last few months.
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1.FactSet Research Systems. (n.d.). S&P 500 (Interactive Charts). Retrieved May 12, 2023, from FactSet Database.
2.Bureau of labor statistics. Graphics for economics news releases. “12-month percentage change, consumer price index (past 20 years).” Updated May 10, 2023. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/cpi/.
3.FactSet Research Systems. (n.d.). Russell 2000 relative to S&P 500 (Interactive Charts). Retrieved May 12, 2023, from FactSet Database.
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