Think about it this way: The bulk of investors and traders believe that the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates at both the July 31 and September 18 central bank meetings. A significant minority believes that the Fed will deliver more than just two 25 basis point cuts. Maybe, the odds now say, one of those will be a 50 basis point cut.
We’re in the midst of a rally–based on a reversal of Fed interest rate policy and built on expectations of those Federal Reserve cuts–that has taken the broad U.S. stock market and narrower indexes such as the technology-heavy NASDAQ Composite to one all time high after another.
So why would you sell ahead of the September 18 Fed meeting? Maybe a sell on the news–since you bought on the rumor (or belief)–reaction as we get closer to the September 18 meeting. But why would you sell now?
Even if earnings reports that begin at full speed next week deliver less than spectacular growth (or even negative growth in earnings and revenue)?
My best guest is that while some individual stocks may fall on earnings results that are worse than expected, most stocks will climb even on mediocre results. And the market as a whole will go higher in the face of modest or modestly bad earnings growth.
I could be wrong. Yesterday I pointed to the results from March IPO Levi Strauss as an indicator. The shares were down 6.59% in after hours trading after the company reported results after the market close. Watch, I advised, to see if in the regular session today the market was kinder to the shares. The short answer is no. The stock was down 12% in today’s trading. So maybe the market will care even in the face of expectations for interest cuts from the Fed.
But Levi Strauss may not be a good test. The stock is only recently public. There are lots of folks who bought on the IPO who aren’t committed to anything but a quick flip and taking profits.
A better test–although one that doesn’t take place until two weeks into earnings season–is Apple (AAPL). Apple is expected to report earnings of $2.10 a share on July 30. That would be below the $2.46 reported in the April quarter of 2018. Apple will also have lots of potentially bad news to report from China and for iPhone demand for the quarters ahead. The shares were up 28.53% year to date for 2019 as of July 9. A sell off on an earnings less or lowered guidance would tell us if the market cares about anything but the Fed and interest rate cuts.
I own Apple shares in my long-term 50 Stocks portfolio. The shares are up 82.99% since I added them to that portfolio on November 8, 2016.