Have you ever had some type of team that you follow, could be sports related or the other, that has a pretty good record, seems to be doing well on the surface, but when you look a little closer it becomes apparent that this team is dominated by the performance of just a very few individuals?
Participation or lack there of
There are a lot of similarities in the above analysis to the current capital market environment. Just like the vulnerability of your favorite team, should some of those dominant forces not perform well or heaven’s, even worse, get injured, the real truth will begin to reveal itself.
Capital markets that are thinly led can have distinct vulnerabilities. On a positive side many of the players can catch up to give greater participation. An optimistic outcome. On the negative side just like our team, should some of those more important subjects falter, reality may sink in.
As mentioned in our Q4 Newsletter, higher interest rates are the tone of the times currently. Our lead article talks about the tremendous positives that higher interest rates have on pensions in the form of higher fixed income earnings. In the very short term, it is a headwind for fixed instruments, but over the long term safer, steadier, and more normalized expected returns.
Political Season Already
While it only seems like yesterday when we had a presidential election, it is hard to believe that next year, approximately this time of the year, we will have another. Recall, there will be many headlines associated with the political process, many of them possibly frightening. You know that we are careful to comment on headlines and things that have not become law, but nevertheless the frightening headlines may appear. Just remember there is a difference between a desire, speaking, debating, and a law.
Positive Seasonality Headwinds
Looking forward to the final quarter of the year, just as it gets cooler in most parts north of the equator, capital markets tend to have positive historical reference. While we are always careful to say this time is different, the Federal Reserve, if resolute in their desire, have both feet firmly pressed on the economic brakes, and as of yet have not been successful in achieving their goals.
John A. Kvale CFA, CFP
Enclosure (2023 Report)