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5.2% profit on Alcoa Inc in our upside view

Alcoaexit

Alcoa Inc All Sessions 20210609 17.27

 

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14.8% profit on JD.com in our downside view

JDexit

JD.com Inc All Sessions 20210507 10.45

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5.1% profit on Cisco Systems in our upside view

CSCO exit

Cisco

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Treasury Yields Signal Investors’ Waning Economic Exuberance

The recent drop in U.S. Treasury yields reveals some investors’ doubts about how strong the economy will be in the coming years, even as inflation pushes to its highest level in more than a decade. Yields, which fall when bond prices rise, have surprised many by sliding in the second quarter of the year. That marks a reversal from the sharp rise of the year’s first three months, when markets generally rode a wave of optimism that stimulus and reopenings would spur a roaring ’20s type of acceleration. Treasury yields play an important function in the economy, helping set borrowing costs on everything from mortgages to corporate bonds. They are also a closely watched economic barometer, with longer-term yields in particular tending to rise when the growth outlook improves and decline when it falters. 

Screenshot 03

 

Yields on conventional and inflation-protected Treasurys still suggest the economy will grow at a healthy pace in the coming years. But expectations aren’t as buoyant as they were in March. Back then, yields reflected forecasts that the Federal Reserve’s benchmark federal-funds rate would remain near zero this year but start climbing by 2023 and steady at around 2.5% without causing the inflation rate to fall to below the central bank’s 2% target. investors still expect the Fed to raise rates at roughly the same time, if possibly a little sooner. But projections for rates over the longer term have subsided somewhat, as have inflation expectations—indicating a slightly weaker economy, less able to withstand interest-rate increases.

 

How Long Might the Next Bear Market Last?

Many investors worry that the stock market’s current overvaluation means that the next bear market—whenever it begins—will be a long and deep one. It might surprise and comfort investors, though, to learn that there is little historical correlation between stock valuations and the length and duration of bear markets. At the beginning of that longest bear market, the cyclically adjusted price/earnings ratio, or CAPE—the one made famous by Yale University finance professor and Nobel laureate Robert Shiller that is based on average inflation-adjusted earnings over the trailing decade—stood at 16.45. That is below the CAPE ratio’s long-term average, suggesting an undervalued stock market.

At the beginning of the shortest bear market, in contrast, the CAPE ratio was more than twice as high, at 38.3. That reading was higher than all prior readings back to 1871, according to data from Prof. Shiller, suggesting a severely overvalued market. And yet the ensuing bear market lasted less than two months. The unreliability of forecasting the length of bear markets based on valuations can’t be traced to some defect in the CAPE ratio. Each of the seven other well-known and highly regarded valuation indicators I studied were equally unreliable. These seven, each with impressive long-term forecasting records in their own right and about which I’ve written before, are the ratios of price to earnings, price to sales and price to book value, the dividend yield, the Buffett indicator (the stock market’s total market cap divided by gross domestic product), the “Q” ratio (calculated by dividing market value by the replacement cost of corporate assets), and the average investor’s equity allocation. 

Screenshot 4f

 

None of this means valuations don’t matter. Indeed, each of these eight indicators has historically been correlated in a statistically significant way with the stock market’s subsequent 10-year return. The universal message of all eight currently is that the stock market’s prospects over the next decade are at best mediocre—if not much worse. That’s because all eight currently are more overvalued than at least 90% of the time in U.S. history. .  With the benefit of hindsight, we today tell ourselves that there was little doubt that the government’s and the Fed’s actions would succeed in creating a new bull market. But with the benefit of Prof. Shiller’s focus on narratives, we instead realize how fragile the bull market is and how vulnerable it is to changes in the way the winds are blowing among investors.

So even though the stock market today is overvalued according to any of a number of time-tested indicators, the next bear market—whenever it occurs—may or may not be particularly long or severe. It will depend in no small part on investor psychology. And that may or may not be a source of solace.

 

5.2% profit on Sainsbury PLC in our upside view

SBURYexit

Sainsbury

 


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6.8% profit on Tesco PLC in our upside view

 

 

Tescoexit

Tesco PLC 20210625 19.48

 

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Banks’ Next Act Gets Tougher

Investors should savor the dividends and buybacks coming from big U.S. banks right now. They might not get the same kind of boost next year. Banks still likely have more loan-loss reserve releases to come. That will certainly boost earnings, but it will have a somewhat more limited benefit on capital levels because banks were allowed by regulators to delay some of the negative effects of reserving on capital during the pandemic. Releases also mean that banks would have smaller loss cushions for next year’s stress tests. Presumably, though, if economic conditions continue to improve markedly, the test scenarios also will get a bit less dire. 

Screenshot 02

Meanwhile, capital requirements not related to stress tests also might start to squeeze more. The biggest banks’ required extra capital buffers due to their global systemic importance look to be on the rise. Meanwhile, huge deposit inflows have also pushed banks closer to their leverage-ratio limits. The Fed could recalibrate all these rules, but the likelihood or outcome of those tweaks is tough to forecast.

Investors might just need to start to change their frame of reference on capital—especially if they are inclined to believe that the economy is improving, which would lead to loan growth and higher rates. Bigger can often be better in banking. Banks that slim down too much to free up capital to return might start to sacrifice longer-term earnings power at just the wrong time. Ultimately it isn’t the capital that really matters to investors but the return on capital.

 

9.8% profit on Xpeng in our downside view

XPNGexit

XPeng Inc 20210630 16.44

 

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22.3% profit on Zynga Inc in our downside view

ZYNGAexit

Zynga Stock Is Plunging After Earnings. At Least 8 Analysts Cut Their Targets.

Zynga Inc 20210623 16.37

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