Stocks rose nicely in July, as the S&P 500 Index returned 3.2% for the month, bringing its year-to-date gain to a stellar 20.7%. The fifth straight monthly gain for the index came amid expectations of a Federal Reserve (Fed) pause, resilient U.S. economic data, falling inflation that increased the odds of a soft landing for the U.S. economy, and a solid start to Q2 earnings season. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite also fared well last month
with gains of 3.4% and 4.1%, respectively.
Core bonds, as measured by the Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index, were marginally lower for July as markets digested an eleventh-rate hike and indications of a resilient US economy. Higher yields may mean another opportunity for investors to add to high-quality fixed income.
As discussed in Midyear Outlook 2023: The Path Toward Stability, the LPL Research Strategic and Tactical Asset Allocation Committee (STAAC) sees the risk-reward trade-off between equities and fixed income as roughly balanced after recent strength in stocks and given higher yields.
- The STAAC maintains its recommended neutral equities allocation based on the Committee’s assessment that the risk-reward trade-off between equities and fixed income is roughly balanced now that stock valuations are approaching a price-to-earnings ratio of 20, based on the S&P 500 Index, and fixed income offers the most attractive yields in decades.
- The Committee favors large cap stocks over their smaller brethren ahead of a likely economic slowdown in the second half.
- Style views remain neutral overall. Our technical analysis work points toward growth but valuations support value.
- The STAAC’s regional preference remains developed international stocks over the U.S. and emerging markets (EM) due mostly to valuations, the potential for a weaker U.S. dollar, and more shareholder friendly management teams in Japan.
- If the Fed is finished raising rates in July, then we could soon start to see lower yields on intermediate-term fixed income securities. Our year-end 2023 target for the 10-year Treasury yield is 3.25% to 3.75%.
- The selloff in the banking sector has provided an attractive opportunity in preferred securities, however the risk/reward for core bond sectors (U.S. Treasury, Agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS), investment-grade corporates) is more attractive than plus sectors, in our view.
This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors and they do not take into account the particular needs, investment objectives, tax and financial condition of any specific person. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, please consult your financial professional prior to investing. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.
Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Because of their narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Value investments can perform differently from the market as a whole and can remain undervalued by the market for long periods of time. The prices of small and mid-cap stocks are generally more volatile than large cap stocks. Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity.
Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds.
Municipal bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Municipal bonds are federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. If sold prior to maturity, capital gains tax could apply. U.S. Treasuries may be considered “safe haven” investments but do carry some degree of risk including interest rate, credit, and market risk. Bond yields are subject to change. Certain call or special redemption features may exist which could impact yield. Mortgagebacked securities are subject to credit, default, prepayment, extension, market and interest rate risk.
Credit Quality is one of the principal criteria for judging the investment quality of a bond or bond mutual fund. Credit ratings are published rankings based on detailed financial analyses by a credit bureau specifically as it relates to the bond issue’s ability to meet debt obligations. The highest rating is AAA, and the lowest is D. Securities with credit ratings of BBB and above are considered investment grade. Duration is a measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. It is expressed as a number of years.
Alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors and should be considered as an investment for the risk capital portion of the investor’s portfolio. The strategies employed in the management of alternative investments may accelerate the velocity of potential losses.
Event driven strategies, such as merger arbitrage, consist of buying shares of the target company in a proposed merger and fully or partially hedging the exposure to the acquirer by shorting the stock of the acquiring company or other means. This strategy involves significant risk as events may not occur as planned and disruptions to a planned merger may result in significant loss to a hedged position.
Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, geopolitical events, and regulatory developments. The fast price swings in commodities and currencies will result in significant volatility in an investor’s holdings.
Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
Earnings per share (EPS) is the portion of a company’s profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock. EPS serves as an indicator of a company’s profitability.
Earnings per share is generally considered to be the single most important variable in determining a share’s price. It is also a major component used to calculate the price-toearnings valuation ratio. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis. It includes all of private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports that occur within a defined territory.
All index data from FactSet.
For a list of descriptions of the indexes referenced in this publication, please visit our website at lplresearch.com/definitions.
Managed futures are speculative, use significant leverage, may carry substantial charges, and should only be considered suitable for the risk capital portion of an investor’s portfolio.