After Wednesday’s news from the Federal Reserve, we all know that an interest rate increase is coming–even if we don’t know when. Could be 2022. Could be 2023. And even if we don’t know how many increases we’re looking for in that time period. Could be one. Could be two.
The need to revise your portfolio to take that change in monetary policy is obvious. But figuring out how and when isn’t by any means straightforward.
As the stock market showed on Thursday, June 17. A day after the Fed’s news, indexes like the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped–as we might expect after the Federal Reserve announced that it would moderate the monetary support that has propped up stock prices. But the technology heavy NASDAQ Composite gained 0.87% by the close and the BIG TECH dominated NASDAQ 100 gained even more, picking up 1.29%. Growth stocks such as Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Nvidia (NVDA) and Crowdstrike (CRWD) soared, picking up 2.13, 1.77%, 5.20%, and 3.05%, respectively.
And then on Friday, June 18, stocks behaved as we might expect after the Fed signaled that interest rate increases are coming, probably earlier than markets had expected just a month ago. The Standard & Poor’s 500 fell 1.31%. The value- and cyclical-heavy Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1.57%. The very economically sensitive small cap Russell 2000 gave up 2.12%. The tech-heavy NASDAQ Composite and the BIG-TECH-heavy NASDAQ 100 lost ground but less with declines of 0.92% and 0.81%, respectively. Investors and traders continued to show a preference for growth–Adobe (ADBE) climbed 2.56%–over value and cyclicals–copper miner Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX) retreated 0.48% on the day.
And then, today, Monday June 21, the trend reversed again. As of 3 p.m. New York time, cyclicals like Deere (DE) and Dow (DOW) were up 2.33% and 1.48%, respectively. Commodities such as copper miner Southern Copper (SCCO) and lithium miner ALbemarle (ABL) were up 3.40% and 2.04%, respectively. Post-vaccine economic recovery stocks such as Macy’s (M) and Six Flags (SIX) had climbed 2.79% and 3.88%, respectively.
What gives? And how should we navigate a period that is almost certainly going to end with a reversal of the lower for longer interest rates that have dominated asset prices for decades?
As promised in last week’s YouTube video, I’m going to take a run–in a number of posts–at how to hedge this market and how to position your portfolio for the developing trends. (I don’t have much hope that this will be the last time I’m visiting this topic, of course.)
First, let’s recognize that the bigger the trend reversal, the longer it will be until investors and traders abandon the current story on the financial markets and adopt a new one.
I think that’s exactly what we saw on Thursday. Investors and traders know that change is coming, but they will stick to the story that has brought them profits–and very hefty ones–for the last few decades for as long as they can. The place to be in most years in the last couple of decades (even with the huge bear markets of the dotcom bust and the global financial crisis) and for year after year has been in growth stocks. And investors and traders are understandably reluctant to abandon Amazon (up 34.04% a year for the last 10 years), Apple (up 28.21% a year), Nvidia (up 47.12% a year) and Microsoft (up 27.50% a year) no matter how stretched the valuations might be right now (they’ve been very stretched for a long time now) and whatever the Fed may be signaling about policy changes in 2022 or 2023. This is especially the case since many investors (including yours truly) can make a convincing argument that the way to out run any increase in interest rates, at least during the beginning of any interest rate increase cycle, is to own stocks that can out grow any increase in the cost of money.