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Market history says omicron volatility isn’t a reason to sell


Stock market investors know that it is difficult to anticipate the next movement in the stock markets. This has been evident over the last week. Dow Jones Industrial AverageAfter a huge selloff. Monday’s selloff saw buyers rush in, but signs of weakness were evident. After a Tuesday stock market crash, stocks rebounded Wednesday and then soared again on Wednesday. The close was reached by buyers. Stocks had another great day on Thursday. another loss for the Dow.

Keith Lerner, chief market strategist and co-chief investor officer of Truist, said that “it’s always difficult.”

It can be helpful to look at market history.

Many are placing bets on it. Santa Claus rallyFor a huge December, you can even get as clarity on the omicron variant threat remains lacking and cases spread, including in the U.S. And even after a week in which Fed Chair Jerome Powell surprised the market — with timing that was “curious,” according to Mohamed El-Erian — saying the Fed’s taper may be acceleratedInflation should not be considered “transitory”.

Traders work in the S&P 500 options pit at Cboe Global Markets Inc. in Chicago, Illinois.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Lerner looks back at market history and sees an environment where patient investors can be ahead.

He stated that a trend should be at least 12-months in length. Even if the entry point does not work, it will increase your chances of success. 

In the last three decades, the VIX volatility index spike of 54% on Nov. 26, was one of the five largest single-day volatility movements. In 1990 there were 19 sessions in which VIX volatility rose by at least 40%. In 19 of those instances (95%), the VIX has jumped by more than 40%. S&P 500 Index was higher one-year later, and the gains were large — an average of 20%.

The U.S. market is still at more than 20% this Year, despite the volatility. A 20% additional might seem possible. Lerner stated that stock prices had gained 9 percent since October 1, which is negative for investors who believe the market will continue to rise in the short term. This suggests that the market is vulnerable to further falls in the near future.

The most important point in VIX history is the long-term trend. There has never been a time when stocks were not positive for the majority of the three largest VIX spikes over the past three decades. This includes the instances where stocks were negative one, three, six, twelve, one, one, one, one, one, two, three, six, or one year after the peak. Stocks were up an average of 1.1% a month later but they were positive 70% the rest of the time. The numbers improve with time.

However, Covid is not a risk the market has seen very often in the past 30 years. In fact, the U.S. saw two major VIX spikes when Covid arrived for the first time in February 2020. Both were brutal for stock markets over the following month. That implies a market that remains on edge for now, and that should not come as a surprise — especially after the past week of trading. The financial crisis was the only time stocks fell in 19 of those instances. Lerner is more confident in staying bullish because of this data point.

Although volatility will continue to be the main headline, the dominant trend will return. However, that trend will, according to him, refers only to an economy that expands and supports further stock gains.

We’ve seen these V-shaped recovery over the past decade. He said that they have become more common. If you go back to the pandemic low when there was a sharp drop, you will see a rally followed by a fight between fear and greed. He said that we have seen more come-downs and go-back up markets over the past 5-10 years than ever before.

Last September was when Evergrande’s financial problems drew global attention to the equity markets.

Be afraid of missing out on a Covid Market

Lerner said that base cases are more like tug-of war, until the market gets more information and can gauge the new version. But this doesn’t alter his belief that investing is better if they wait than if they sit out the market. In a “fear of missing out” era, that’s a lesson many investors learned from Spring 2020, the fastest bull market in history based on S&P 500 price gains.

Lerner explained that the reminder is for people who didn’t get to see it at the time. It would have been better for you to remain in the market, even if you were able to access all the latest news about the pandemic. He said that the market had moved by the time they have given the green light.

Stock markets reached an all-time high just before Nov. 26. Investors should expect more volatility over the next two to three months. Because the uncertainty of science, which the market has never experienced before, could lead to more volatility. However, the market has the 2020 Covid playbook.

Lerner stated that it all was new in February 2020. We didn’t anticipate how businesses would change, but there are playbooks. It was clear that they became increasingly digital. While there will always be losers and winners, companies and customers have learned to adapt and will continue to do so.

According to the Federal Reserve, one of the most important lessons from the Covid era was that the economy is better at adapting during pandemics. Some market analysts pointed out that inflationary risk from an overheated economy was a bigger concern than the new Covid version when Fed Chair Powell spoke in Senate testimony.

Lerner, like many other market experts, believes that margins inflation could become worse due to an exacerbation in the supply chain problems. These issues were already showing signs of improvement and are now unknown. This is because new factory shut downs or delays in transport may cause prices to rise again.

He stated that it was a “risk to the market” and that there may be more volatility in the future.

Fed Chair Powell stated this week that inflation is complicated by the omicron variation.

There is one difference between Spring 2020 and now: The economy isn’t in recession. It entered it during lockdowns, stay-at home orders and the Covid Wave. We know that even though this variation may slow activity, the recession risk remains low. Lerner noted that it is quite a difference between February and March 2020 in which a recession occurred so fast.

Apple, mega-cap tech stocks and the S&P 500

For investors who maintain broad exposure to the U.S. stock market through S&P 500 funds, composition of the U.S. stock market is a reason for riding out the current period of volatility. Apple, the biggest company on the market, suffered a drop Thursday, following a news report. its holiday sales of iPhones might disappointApple shares and technology more generally were bright spots for the market’s rebound efforts earlier this week. Apple was a great example of the qualities that Apple exemplifies. a “flight to safety” trade. And with Apple and its mega-cap tech peers representing close to one-quarter of the S&P 500, the omicron overhang on stocks may do more damage below the surface of the index than at the surface gain or loss level.

Lerner stated that composition is important, especially in the U.S. Market.

He said that if the economic recovery continues and omicron does not turn out as disastrous as people had feared, reflation traders may be better off. But, “right now the strongest sector in the economy is tech, and that’s why it’s important to those who invest at the index level.” The headline index could hold up better if the stocks of large-cap tech companies are strong, and there may be more bifurcation under the surface. Investors will gravitate to those companies with more cash flow and larger balance sheets so that they can continue to make money even if the economy slows down. “They’ve become more defensive,” he said.

Lerner is also in favor of continuing the tilt toward U.S. equity versus peer market around the world, even though international and emerging markets trade at substantial discounts to U.S. stocks. He noted that international equity prices are making fresh lows relative to the U.S., and in the case of the EAFE index versus the S&P 500, a relative price that is at the lowest level in history.

The sector composition of the S&P 500 and outsize role of mega-cap is a major reason for that versus the European market and the EAFE universe, in which financial and industrials are the top two sectors. Lerner said that while this does not mean there won’t be some gains in the future, it doesn’t necessarily mean those who get into overseas equities trades at a discount will enjoy them. He has stated to clients that sticking to a U.S. equity tilt and technology will likely mean missing out on an investor rotation, which is invariably going to favor overseas markets, as earnings power increases. However, it is something he is prepared to accept.

“Valuations may be cheap in other countries, but this hasn’t made it a catalyst.” he stated. We will miss the turn but we are prepared to wait for stability, earning trends and that has helped us in our overweight U.S. “If there is a sustained move, then there should also be sustainable upside,” he said. You don’t have to be the hero to try to purchase those markets.

Short-term market headwinds, longer-term stock catalysts

A look at the last week’s activity shows that equity market strategists still remain skeptical about any U.S.-based sustainable rebound. Monday’s big really featured an advance/decline breakdown of 1,834 winning stocks versus 1,502 losing ones — “not a resounding up day.” Lerner spoke. The big rebound on Thursday was much more encouraging. Advances: 2,525. Declines: 868. “You want to see an advance-decline that is three-to-one,” Lerner said, and the market delivered that on Thursday — though that confidence didn’t last.

The Russell 2,000, a broader look at the U.S. market and domestic economy than the large-cap S&P, broke it’s four-day losing streak on Thursday, but by Friday’s close was 12% of its 5-week high. Lerner’s believes that the Russell 2000 small-cap index is an example “nice kickback, but more mixed beneath the surface” market activity investors should be watching. They shouldn’t let any signal in between stock nibbling, as well as the uncertainty, continue to exist over the course the omicron version.

Although the market saw its highest day since March 2021, strategists are still cautious. Fundstrat Global Advisors’ Tom Lee called for aggressive buying early in the week. This was after the Thursday and Monday rallies.

According to Bank of America and FactSet Research Systems, headed into Friday’s trading action only 32 S&P 500 stocks were off their highs less than the S&P 500 Index.

Fundstrat Global Advisors sent a Thursday night note to its clients that “Thursday’s rally was similar to Wednesday’s bounce but failed to demonstrate sufficient strength to believe a low has in.” This rally may weaken even further over the next week. … A monumental effort and broad participation are required to overcome the dramatic drop in breadth seen in the last weeks.

On Friday, the S&P 500 barely avoided its sixth-consecutive trading session with a move of 1% or more, Declining by 0.8%

Lerner wrote to his clients on Thursday, pointing out that while 27% of retail investors hold a bullish perspective, compared to 48% only weeks ago (according to the American Association of Individual Investors’ latest survey), the proportion of bearish investors rose to their highest level for more than one year. His belief is that investor patience is just as important as having confidence. Both consumers and corporations have adjusted to Covid. The economy is still strong. He concludes that although the primary market trend has risen, it will continue to be difficult for investors in the near term.

Friday’s announcement by the World Health Organization was omicron variant had spread to 38 countriesIt was found to be more contagious that the Delta strain, according to early data. Tech sector lost the most on Friday with Nasdaq CompositeThe stock market is down 1.9%. Below the top of tech giants, many software price-to earnings ratios remain susceptible to revaluation. This is despite bets that the world will return to more virtual and stay-at-home environments. selling in DocuSignIts weak outlook is an example.

While the S&P 500 is below its peak from a month ago; the ARK Innovation ETF that made fund manager Cathie Wood a star in recent years and during the pandemic: now down 40% from its February highIts largest drawback since the outbreak of the pandemic. It is estimated that the iShares Tech-Software ETFDocuSign and a portion of it, were below their 200-day moving average on Friday for the first-time since May, more than 14% off its intraday all time high in November.

Fear is the number one reason investors shouldn’t let stop them from making investment decisions. The current market fear is driven by real factors. It can take weeks or even months to see the other side. However, fear can change from a market wind to a tailwind. That is why the VIX index has seen big spikes. Lerner explained that “the same fear is the catalyst.”

Lee noted that there was no inversion of the VIX (a condition in which the risk in the near-term is priced lower than its counterpart in the future) after Friday’s “Black Friday” saleoff. However, this Friday’s VIX curve inverted. That is indicative of portfolio stress. This is a significant change. “can occur near the climax of a selloff, as fear peaks,”For more certainty, the VIX must be uninverted again.

“We have to say with humility what we know and don’t know,” Lerner said, but he added that if the catalyst for the S&P being down is renewed Covid fears, and we find out these concerns are overblow and won’t disrupt the economic trajectory and won’t effect corporate profits, the headlines that had people braced for negative news become a positive catalyst for the market because expectations were reset lower.

He said that there were times in 2007 where investors were not fearful enough. We don’t believe we are going to be in a recession. This doesn’t affect the economic expansion.

The monthly jobs report for Friday was lower than expected in terms of the number jobs that were added in November by the U.S., however it was still quite encouraging. a mixed reportThe economic outlook is positive because the unemployment rate has fallen and the labor participation has risen, which are both good signs.

A “garden-variety” correction in stocks, was how S&P 500 technician Ed Yardeni described it early last week.

By Friday’s close, the Nasdaq was down more than 6% from its 52-week high; the off Dow over 5%; and the S&P less than 5% from its annual high.

5% to 10% corrections are the admission price to the marketLerner says it often. “Investors will be better off focusing on longer-term trends,” Lerner often says.



Mike Robinson
Mike covers the financial, utilities and biotechnology sectors for Street Register. He has been writing about investment and personal finance topics for almost 12 years. Mike has an MBA in Finance from Wake Forest University.