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Hot Dog! Why Stocks Are Where They Are

The Hot Dog and the Bun – gotta love it.  They go together like the Dow and the S&P 500…the Dow has pushed past 21,000 and the S&P 500 Index is near a record high, too.

Some people are citing that valuations seem rich with the 1-year forward price-earnings (P/E) ratio for the S&P 500 at 17.5x. The average over the last 10 years has been 14.4x and 20 years has been 17.2x, according to the trusty FactSet terminal.

So where is the support for stocks?

  • First quarter (Q1) earnings season has been strong, with S&P 500 profits up nearly 15%, according to Thomson Reuters, with 87% of firms having reported. Forecasts have generally been upbeat (Bespoke).
  • The U.S. economy is moving forward…oh, and we’re seeing an acceleration in global growth.
  • Geopolitical tensions have subsided…for now.
  • France’s election is over…can you remember the last time you ever followed the French election? Sans vouloir vous offenser…
  • The Fed remains on a gradual upward trajectory for interest rates. Sounds bad, but it’s not completely bad.
  • Low interest rates and low inflation lend support to higher P/E ratios, like above.

So where are the risks?

  • Recent softness in commodity prices. This is primarily attributable to China worries.  Yeah, the same China that everyone has been talking about for what seems like forever.
  • Geopolitical tensions could resurface, injecting short-term volatility into the market. If North Korea starts to feel their oats again and we take counter action, there will be some short-term fall out.

So What?

For now, investors are brushing aside potential distractions and focusing on the fundamentals.  Personally, seeing one of the best earnings seasons in a long, long time is what I think is worth focusing on.

Finally – Thoughts on the Trump Tax Plan

In fairness, it’s a one pager…but I find one component interesting and it’s the deductibility of state and local taxes.  This is a big deal in the states that have really high state and local taxes because if residents in those states can’t deduct them anymore, that’s bad for them.

States impacted?  Well, according to TrendMacro, 50.5% of the aggregate tax deduction amount is shared by 6 states…California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Maryland and Massachusetts.

All blue states.

Since the Republicans in the Senate can pass tax changes for 10 years without a single Democrat vote, it’s possible that this becomes a huge negotiating point.  The Republicans COULD offer to strip removal of state and local tax deductions out of the plan in exchange for some Dems to vote for the final package.  With 60 votes, the tax reform could be permanent and not just 10 years.

The 10 Dems fighting for 2018 reelection in states that Trump carried in the election could be interested in this – especially if the other option is losing the state and local deductions for 10 years in 6 big blue states that make up 50.5% of the aggregate amount.  In that case, big blue states lose at the expense of red states.

That’s a tough pig to put lipstick on.

I think there could be a good chance we see permanent tax reform with 60 votes on a package that DOES NOT include the state and local tax deduction.

That could be a catalyst for a continuation of the current rally.

Please call with questions.

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Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Wealth Management), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. All indexes referenced are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. The economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument Wealth Management. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Monument Wealth Management is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of Monument Wealth Management’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.

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David B. Armstrong, CFA

President & Co-Founder

Dave got into the industry when he discovered his passion for finance in his mid-20’s. He’s a combat veteran and served as an officer in the United States Marines Corps on both active duty and in the reserves, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving on active duty, Dave was unable to spend money on deployments, so he became a self-taught investor. Along with a few bucks cash as a bouncer, his investing performance grew to be good....

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IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Monument Capital Management, LLC [“MCM”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.   

Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from MCM. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. MCM is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  

A copy of MCM’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at www.monumentwealthmanagement.com/disclosures.  

Please Note: MCM does not make any representations or warranties as to the accuracy, timeliness, suitability, completeness, or relevance of any information prepared by any unaffiliated third party, whether linked to MCM’s web site or blog or incorporated herein, and takes no responsibility for any such content. All such information is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly.  

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