Presented by The PensionmarkMeridien Team, November 7, 2023
MAJOR U.S. STOCK INDEXES
There was no shortage of market activity in October, with elevated interest rates, government deficits, and war in the Middle East in the spotlight. With that in mind, I wanted to reach out with an overview of the month.
EARNINGS SEASON UNFOLDS
Earnings results for the third quarter have been mostly good thus far, but you wouldn’t know it by glancing at the markets.
As of October 27th (with 49% of S&P 500 companies reporting actual results), 78% of S&P 500 companies had reported a positive earning per share (EPS) surprise, and 62% of S&P 500 companies had reported a positive revenue surprise for Q3, according to data4 from FactSet.
Companies that have reported negative results (such as Tesla5) have been punished by the markets, perhaps unfairly in some cases. Earnings season will continue this month.
FED: ANOTHER (DOVISH-SOUNDING?) PAUSE
For the second consecutive time, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged6 at the November 1st meeting, as was widely expected.
The Fed’s tone was interpreted as “dovish7.” However, the Fed indicated that there have not been any decisions made about future meetings and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged that the U.S. economy is “strong.”
Ultimately, the Fed’s statement8 was virtually unchanged compared to the last meeting, which gave market participants little to go on in the short term, yet the U.S. stock indexes rallied on the day of the Fed decision.
LABOR MARKET STRENGTH
Logic-defying labor market strength continued in September (with data released in October). Dow Jones estimates were for 170,0009 in new jobs added.
336,000 jobs added was the headline jobs number — way above consensus expectations. How was there so much job creation as the Fed worked so hard to cool the economy?
Some good news for Fed watchers came in early November, with October jobs numbers coming in below expectations10 (150,000 jobs created vs. 170,000 expected). Though the United Auto Workers (UAW) strike likely plays into these numbers, this early November data is still a good sign, as market watchers and the Fed look for clues that rate hikes are cooling the economy.
Inflation remained elevated based on multiple metrics throughout October’s releases of September data.
Producer Price Index (PPI):
Producer pricing (wholesale pricing) showed a rise of 0.5%11 in September versus the Dow Jones estimate for a 0.3% rise. Those wholesale prices remain elevated. Producer inflation tends to be a leading indicator for consumer inflation (meaning increases in producer pricing can signal what’s to come for consumer pricing).
Consumer Price Index (CPI):
Consumer pricing for September showed us a bit hotter-than-expected data reading, at a 3.7%12 year-over-year rise versus estimates for 3.6%. On a month-over-month basis, data showed a 0.4% increase in consumer pricing vs. 0.3% expected. Shelter (including rent) and energy remained firm.
While markets didn’t seem to mind the hotter PPI, CPI was a different story, with the S&P 500 finishing the daily session lower. Tensions in the Middle East also ramped up on the same day, October 12th, and the tone for October was set.
Yes, the seasonal pattern for U.S. equities is strong at this time of year!
Historically, November and December are a strong time of year for U.S. equities. After October’s dismal showing for U.S. stock indexes, market watchers are debating the opportunities in stocks for the remainder of the year.
According to data from CFRA Research, the S&P 500 has risen in 60% of the Octobers, 66% of the Novembers, and 77% of the Decembers since 1945.
Well, we know that October didn’t pan out according to the historical data and pattern! Many market bulls are feeling enthusiastic about the next two months, despite the headlines.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
The overall market (and consumer) sentiment is rather sour heading into November — and for solid fundamental reasons. Regardless of the headlines, we are entering a historically strong time of year for U.S. equities.
This bullish seasonal tendency could provide a supportive backdrop going into the end of the year. However, rising rates are on the radar of investors, along with another potential looming government shutdown in mid-November, the Middle East, and other factors.
STAYING THE COURSE
Let’s remember the goals that we have discussed, strategized, and implemented. More often than not, emotions can trigger the long-term investor into making snap decisions to their long-term detriment (think 2020).
Market timing is difficult to achieve. It is for this reason that we stress the overall importance of investing over the longer term. Remembering this during times of market upturns is equally as critical as staying resolved during market downturns.
With that said, we would love to hear from you about how things are going and if your priorities or objectives have shifted since we last spoke. Please let us know if you have questions or if there is anything we can do for you.
We are always here as a resource for you.
The PensionmarkMeridien Team may be reached at 866-871-9963 or
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This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and they should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.
1) Trading View, October 31, 2023
2) Trading View, October 31, 2023
3) Trading View, October 31, 2023
4) Fact Set, October 27, 2023
5) The Street, October 31, 2023
6) Reuters, November 1, 2023
7) The Street, November 1, 2023
8) The Federal Reserve, November 1, 2023
9) CNBC, October 6, 2023
10) CNBC, November 3, 2023
11) CNBC, October 11, 2023
12) CNBC, October 12, 2023
Pensionmark Financial Group, LLC (“Pensionmark”) is an investment adviser registered under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. Pensionmark and WIA Holdings, LLC (“World”) are affiliated through common ownership with Pensionmark Securities, LLC. Securities offered through Pensionmark Securities, LLC (Member FINRA/SIPC).