FOMO

We witnessed a classic greed/fear scenario over the last three months that confirms that it is impossible to determine the short term movements of stock and bond market prices with any precision with numerous elements moving security prices down dramatically then up tremendously with equal disbelieve on both sides of the debate. Currently, we are back to a level in the S&P 500 Index that creates this FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) behavior that in some odd way forces fund managers and other investors with high levels of cash reserves to invest even though valuations in many sectors of the market are far different than on December 24th. This FOMO attitude sounds childish but if you are a fund manager that is trailing the S&P 500 benchmark index for the current first quarter you are feeling pressure to commit cash into stocks that have been bid up due to reduced volatility (VIX index under 14) and the major change of attitude by the Federal Reserve and setting aside the fact that valuations levels have become less attractive.

Last week we experienced the major indexes advance to the tune of 2.9% for the S&P 500 Index and 3.8% for the technology/healthcare heavy NASDAQ. This FOMO attitude seemed to be working to the benefit of long term investors with the S&P Index knocking on the door of a previous resistance level of 2,820 and eight out of ten technicians and market strategists stated that the market is topping out due to a global economic slowdown and slower growth on the horizon for the U.S. economy. It is hard to know what will happen in the very near term but there is an old Wall Street axiom that suggests that the market will move in the direction that will hurt financially those betting against (in this case) a further increase in stock prices. So, I wouldn’t be surprised for the market to continue moving higher as more and more strategists bark against higher highs.

The stock action in the high growth technology and biotech/medical device names states pretty emphatically that investors are feeling fearless about global macro concerns and continuous problems in Washington. Last week, another semi-conductor bellwether Broadcom reported a better than expected quarter and the CEO expressed a view that the sector is moving through a bottoming process that will be completed in 1 or 2 quarters, setting up a strong 2H for most well positioned semiconductor and semiconductor manufacturing companies.

Nike is the only DJIA name that will be reporting their quarterly update this week. I expect a good report from previous strong statements from Footlocker and Dicks Sporting Goods about Nike sales within their doors. With March Madness around the corner, I would expect more Nike ads and promotions over the next three/four weeks. This should not slow down this athletic clothing and footwear juggernaut.

Have a great week,

Roger N. Steed

March 18, 2019

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