It’s going to be a big week for the markets, with three central bank meetings (the Fed on Wednesday, the European Central Bank on Thursday and Bank of Japan on Friday) and President Trump’s summit with North Korea dominating the headlines.
There also is a pile of economic data on its way: CPI on Tuesday, producer prices on Wednesday, retail sales on Thursday and industrial production on Friday. And to end the week, Friday is quadruple witching, the quarterly expiration of stock and stock index futures and options.
That’s a lot for the markets to digest, but for the moment, very little can keep them down. Consider:
1. The right leadership is powering the markets. Tech is still strong, but it has been joined by financials as a market leader. Together, they are north of 40 percent of the S&P 500. In addition, energy is holding on, and retailers have surged, many double digits, in the last couple weeks as earnings commentary was excellent.
2. Trade talk has been confusing but so far has not had a big impact on markets. Traders cite two reasons. First, many do not believe that a global trade war is imminent, despite the tension. Second, traders have become inured to the endless tweets. When every day is a tweetstorm that generates confusion, confusion becomes the norm.
3. The Fed is perceived to be on top of things, but not over-reactive. It is an overused phrase, but it’s almost Goldilocks for the Fed. Job performance is good, wage inflation at 2.7 percent is good but not overheating. It’s steady as she goes, with gradual tightening.
The ECB’s Mario Draghi will speak on Thursday, and any signals of a reduction of stimulus could be viewed as a boost of confidence for Europe. Bank of Japan’s Haruhiko Kuroda will be the only one left who is not reducing stimulus.
4. The U.S. growth outlook is solid. Just look at what is happening with real estate investment trusts. They are perceived to be interest-rate sensitive, and they are, but they have rallied 5 percent off their May lows. Utilities, by comparison, have done nothing.
REITs are cyclicals, and better economic growth helps them, along with improved commentary from retailers. The S&P REIT sector is above its 200-day moving average for the first time since early January.
5. July will be all about earnings, and traders will realize conditions are not yet at their peak. The first quarter was exceptional, with a stunning 26 percent gain, but when the dust settles, the third quarter, already estimated at 23 percent, will likely surpass the first.
(S&P 500 earnings gain)
Q1: up 26.4 percent
Q2 (est.): up 20.1 percent
Q3 (est): up 23 percent
Q4 (est.): up 19.9 percent
Source: Thomson Reuters
Could anything help? Some kind of breakthrough with China would certainly move markets.
For the moment, there is a lot more upside than downside.