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Weekly Market Commentary

Brightening Outlook for International Equities: Have the Tides Turned

February 6, 2023

Investors got more excited about international investing late last year. Some of that was chasing better returns, as developed international equities solidly beat the U.S. over the last three months of 2022. Some was the increased popularity of value investing as mega-cap U.S. technology stocks became less in favor. The surprising resilience of core European economies and a weaker U.S. dollar added to the market’s excitement. After such strong performance in international benchmarks recently, is there enough good news still yet to come for these markets to continue to outpace the U.S.?

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Will January’s Market Hit the Trifecta? The Seasonal Indicators

January 30, 2023

The script has been flipped in 2023. Last year’s underperformers have turned into outperformers this year, driving the S&P 500 Index up over 5% this month. The pace and composition of the rally have left many investors skeptical over its sustainability, especially amid a lackluster earnings season thus far. Of course, the market is also forward-looking, with expectations for falling inflation and a less hawkish Federal Reserve (Fed) as we progress into 2023.

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A Feisty Bull-Bear Debate: Weighing the Pros and Cons

January 23, 2023

The latest episode of the debate between stock market bulls and bears has gotten more interesting. For every valid point from one side, there’s an equally compelling argument on the other side. Perhaps the best reason for the debate is the uniqueness of this environment. The pandemic and its aftermath don’t come with a historical playbook. We haven’t been here before. So we’ll just recognize that the outlook is uncertain, weigh the pros and cons, glean what we can from the past, and give it our best shot. Call us cautious bulls.

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Q4 Earnings Preview: Pessimism May Be Overdone

January 17, 2023

Fourth quarter earnings season is underway and probably won’t bring much good news. Lackluster global growth, ongoing profit margin pressures from inflation, and negative currency impacts are likely to translate into a year-over-year decline in S&P 500 Index earnings for the quarter. As always, guidance matters more as market participants look forward. The key question coming into this earnings season is whether the pessimism surrounding 2023 earnings has gone too far.

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Market, Stocks, and Bonds Lessons Learned from 2022

January 9, 2023

We believe accountability and modesty are among the keys to success in this business. In striving for those qualities, LPL Research has a tradition of starting off a new year with a lessons learned commentary. We got some things wrong last year, no doubt. But those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them. Here are some of our lessons learned from 2022. As you might imagine, inflation and the Federal Reserve are common themes throughout.

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2023 Market Outlook: LPL Research Takes a Look at the Year Ahead

January 3, 2023

2022 was a dizzying year as markets and the global economy continued to find itself out of balance due to the still present aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the policy response to it. If 2022 was about recognizing imbalances that had built in the economy and starting to address them, we believe 2023 will be about setting ourselves up for what comes next as the economy and markets find their way back to steadier ground. 

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Historic Year for Central Bank Activity and Rate Hikes

December 19, 2022

The Federal Reserve (Fed) wrapped up its last Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting of the year last week, where it hiked short-term interest rates for the seventh time in as many meetings, taking the fed funds rate to 4.5% (upper bound). A day later, both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England (BoE) also hiked interest rates, taking their respective policy rates to the highest levels since 2008. Over 90% of central banks have hiked interest rates this year, making the (mostly) global coordinated effort unprecedented. The good news? We think we’re close to the end of these rate hiking cycles, which could lessen the headwind we’ve seen on global financial markets this year.

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December Down but Not Out: Seasonality Trends Point to Market Recovery

December 12, 2022

Despite the S&P 500 Index starting December with five consecutive days of losses, we think December is down but not out. December often starts slow but historically has been a strong month. There are also some potentially supportive seasonal patterns ahead, such as the Santa Claus Rally, the outlook for January following down years, and the third year of the presidential cycle. ‘Tis the season, and this week LPL Research looks at some important seasonal patterns as the year winds down.

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Resilient Consumers Have Not Saved Retail Stocks

December 5, 2022

Economic and corporate data support the initial strong reads on holiday retail sales despite the macro headwinds, reinforcing the idea that today’s consumer is in a better position than usual at this point in the business cycle. However, consumers were likely tapping into credit and using savings to support spending. In this week’s Weekly Market Commentary we share insights on publicly traded retailers, analyze their underperformance year to date, and look forward to 2023.

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Playbook for a Fed Pivot: Exploring Equity and Fixed Income Market Performance

November 21, 2022

Recent inflation data has tempered expectations for future Federal Reserve tightening, including a potential peak in the terminal rate near 5.0% in May or June of 2023. While the market has welcomed this news, history suggests the path to a Fed pivot could be volatile for stocks due to elevated inflation and interest rate risk.

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Inflation and Rising Rates Supports Value

November 14, 2022

The growth vs. value debate has been pretty one-sided in 2022, with value outperforming growth for a sustained period for the first time in almost 15 years. However, the debate is heating up as investors begin to consider whether the pendulum will swing back to growth if inflation and interest rates decline in 2023. 

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How Midterm Elections May Move Markets

November 7, 2022

Midterm elections are upon us, with Election Day on Tuesday. Republicans are strongly favored to win the House, and the Senate is roughly a tossup. We believe either outcome would be market-friendly, although the bigger market driver will likely be central banks’ efforts to tame inflation. In this week’s Weekly Market Commentary, we look at why the stock market may respond favorably to the midterm election, whatever the outcome.

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Federal Reserve Preview: TRICK or Treat?

October 31, 2022

With a series of important economic indicators suggesting the economy is declining and inflation is finally decelerating, albeit very slowly, markets are beginning to factor in that the Fed may soon transition to a less aggressive stance in early 2023. Here we preview this week’s Fed meeting and discuss whether investors will get a trick or a treat...

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Pockets of Vulnerability Magnified by Monetary Policy

October 10, 2022

As Federal Reserve (Fed) officials continue to emphasize the Fed’s commitment to restoring price stability, the dollar marches ever higher. Markets are currently pricing in another 75-basis point rate hike at the November 2 Fed meeting as calls for the Fed to halt its aggressive campaign are mounting. Worries persist that tightening financial conditions, underpinned by a stronger dollar...

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Markets on Watch as Xi Jinping’s Influence to be Tested in October

October 03, 2022

On October 16, China will begin its 20th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. This plenum is especially significant because it is expected that President Xi Jinping will be granted an unprecedented third term,...

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Why It May Be Time to Take Advantage of Higher Yields

September 26, 2022

The LPL Research Strategic and Tactical Asset Allocation Committee is increasing its recommended interest rate exposure in its tactical allocation from underweight to neutral. Now that interest rates have moved substantially higher, we...

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How Much Higher Can Rates Go?

September 19, 2022

Inflationary dynamics continue to surprise to the upside, and markets now expect the Fed to pursue one of its most aggressive rate hiking campaign in years. U.S. Treasury yields continue to move higher as well. We think we’ve seen the biggest moves higher in yields, but as long as inflationary pressures continue to surprise to the upside, interest rate volatility will likely remain. 

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Getting Jobs Market Back into Balance

September 12, 2022

Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell reiterated his warning that getting inflation under control will require some pain. Powell is likely making these warnings based on the arcane, clunky relationship between inflation and unemployment. he key to getting the market back into balance is a bigger labor force, and the economy is starting to experience a larger labor force as individuals come off the sidelines and rejoin the job market.

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September’s Calendar Cruelty for Stocks

September 6, 2022

The difficult 2022 for stocks may not get much easier because as we now wait for better news on the inflation front, we have to contend with a seasonally weak month of September. While we got some welcome news in Friday’s jobs report, more evidence of falling inflation will take time to materialize. The good news is a seasonally strong fourth quarter is right around the corner. 

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Earnings Recap: Still Hanging In There

August 29th, 2022

Earnings growth of 6-7% doesn’t sound very exciting, but given the challenges corporate America has faced, we consider the nearly-complete second-quarter earnings season a resounding success. The numerous challenges last quarter included a slowing economy, intensifying inflation pressures, ongoing global supply chain disruptions, and a surging U.S. dollar.

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Is This the Start of a New Bull Market?

August 22nd, 2022

Existing home sales fell 5.9% in July, the sixth consecutive month of decline as higher interest rates weigh on housing affordability and prospective buyers. As the housing market slowed, so did prices. The median price for a single-family home was $410,600, a decline of roughly $10,000 from June. 

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Is This the Start of a New Bull Market?

August 15th, 2022

Investors cheered the two better-than-expected inflation reports last week, pushing the S&P 500 to 16% above its June 16 low and only 11% below its all-time high. After this rebound, the key question investors are asking is whether this is a bear market rally that will soon fizzle or the start of a new bull market. 

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The Case for a U.S. Recession Weakens

August 8th, 2022

Payrolls surged by 528,000 in July and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%. Moreover, net revisions to the previous two months added another 28,000 jobs to the original estimates. Clearly, these gains further cement the claim that the U.S. is currently not in recession. 

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What a Week for the Stock Market

August 1st, 2022

A day after the Fed hiked rates by 0.75% to an upper bound of 2.50% the markets had to digest a second consecutive quarter of negative growth. That naturally led more to ask the question: Are we in a recession?

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3 Factors That Could Change The Inflation Course

July 25th, 2022

There are at least three factors that could change the course of inflation. First, the improvement in shipping and general supply bottlenecks could ease inflation. Second, strength in the U.S. dollar could offset some of the current inflationary pressures. And third, import prices have moderated since the beginning of 2022 and as import prices slow, we expect consumer prices to eventually reflect the slowdown in import prices.

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Managing Market Volatility

July 18th, 2022

Markets rarely give us clear skies, and there are always threats to watch for on the horizon, but the right preparation, context, and support can help us navigate anything that may lie ahead. So far, this year hasn’t seen a full-blown crisis like 2008–2009 or 2020, but the ride has been very bumpy. 

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Constructive, Not Complacent: Lowering S&P 500 Target

July 5th, 2022

Stocks have been unable to make up much ground since the June 16 lows, with a bear market rally amounting to only around a 4.3% gain in the S&P 500 Index since then (as of July 1). After the more than 6% rally the week of June 24 and the increasing optimism that came with that bounce, stocks pulled back again last week—the 11th down week for the index in the past 13 weeks. 

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Relief at the Pump and for Portfolios?

June 27th, 2022

2022 has been rough all-around for the American consumer. Not only are we battling decades-high inflation, but investors’ portfolios are off to one of the worst starts to a year in history as we near the halfway point. Our technical work is first and foremost rooted in trend following, and the trend in both stock and bond prices so far this year have of course been down. 

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Bear Market Q&A

June 20th, 2022

The bear market that started on June 13 has left the S&P 500 Index 23.5% below its January 3 high. After the initial positive reaction to the Federal Reserve’s first 0.75% rate hike since 1994 and tough talk on inflation, heightened fears of recession and that the Fed might “break something” sent stocks down for the 10th week out of 11 for only the second time in history (The first was in 1970). 

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Is the 60/40 Portfolio Dead?

June 13th, 2022

This year has been tough for investors, not just because stocks have fallen but also because bonds have not helped mitigate those losses as they have historically done. Below we discuss the outlook for diversified portfolios of stocks and bonds to make the case that the 60/40 portfolio isn’t dead. 

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The Economy Is Slowing But Not Shrinking

June 6th, 2022

Many pundits are issuing recession warnings and saying the economy is heading for a hard landing. Amid the cacophony of voices, we think the economy is slowing just like central bankers want but not shrinking. Further, we argue that a slowing economy is very different than a shrinking one. 

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Looking through the Clouds

June 1st, 2022

At the risk of sounding cliché, making the case for stocks to stage a second half rally back to the prior highs requires investors to see through some heavy cloud cover. If you prefer another market cliché, it’s times like these when investors need a crystal ball.

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Dawn of a New Era for Core Bonds

May 23rd, 2022

Core bond investors have experienced the worst start to the year ever. However tough this year has been so far though (and it has been tough), the potential for future returns has improved meaningfully, in our view. Starting yields tend to be a good predictor of future returns and have become more attractive in a number of markets recently. 

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Corporate America Delivers, Market Attention Focused Elsewhere

May 16th, 2022

First quarter earnings season was solid by just about any measure, but based on recent market behavior it’s obvious that in general market participants paid little attention. This is a macro-driven market, so it will likely take positive macro developments, i.e., better news on the inflation front, to turn stocks around.

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