U.S. stocks open lower as investors digest the impact of leveraged trades
- European markets are mixed in midday trading with the United Kingdom the lone decliner.
- Asian stocks were mostly higher despite unwinding of leveraged technology trades that lead to broad based pressure last week.
A humble victory lap
It’s been just under a year since we upgraded our equity recommendation from neutral to overweight.
- While the timing of our recommendation allowed us to capture the bulk of the strongest rally from a bear market low for the S&P 500 Index in history, investing is a challenging endeavor that requires consistent discipline as markets always find a way to challenge its participants.
- We take a closer look at the historic rally and our asset allocation recommendations in today’s LPL Research blog, available at 12pm ET.
LPL Financial closed on Friday, April 2, 2021
LPL Financial will be closed along with stock and bond markets for the observation of Good Friday. There will be no Morning Call, Daily Market Update or blog post.
Leveraged trades at the source of last week’s weakness
- The unwinding of nearly $20 billion in holdings linked to a hedge fund garnered attention over the weekend, and is being cited as the primary driver of weakness in Chinese technology and U.S. media stocks last week.
- Adding to the calamity, the trades were executed via derivative securities, creating indirect exposure to certain stocks while allowing the buildup of significant positions without conventional disclosure of the trades.
- In the face of many growing worries, stocks climbed to new all-time highs yet again on Friday. In fact, it was the 15th new high of 2021 for the S&P 500 Index.
- As the chart below shows, new highs tend to happen in clusters that can last a decade or more.
- We continue to believe we are in a secular bull market, similar to secular bulls from the ‘50s/’60s and ‘80s/’90s bull markets, suggesting potentially years left of gains for stocks this time around.
The following economic data is slated to be released this week:
- Tuesday: S&P/Case-Schiller Home Price Index (Jan.), Consumer Confidence (Mar.)
- Wednesday: Pending home sales (Feb.)
- Thursday: Weekly initial and continuing claims, Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing index (Mar.), construction spending (Feb.)
- Friday: Domestic auto sales (Mar.), labor statistics and payroll data (Mar.), unemployment report (Mar.)
A furious late afternoon rally on Friday propelled the S&P 500 to a new all-time closing high. Stocks are giving up some, but not all of those gains in early trading today. Last Thursday’s intraday low at 3853 can be viewed as the first tactical support level for the S&P 500.
The United States reported 45,000 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, up 33% from the Sunday prior (source: New York Times). https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/coronavirus-us-cases.html
- Over the past week, cases rose 16% compared to the previous week, marking a stark acceleration from the 1% weekly rate of change before.
- Case growth remains most prominent in northern states such as Michigan and New Jersey.
- Cases are still rising in Western Europe despite increased restrictions, with France still suffering the worst outbreak.
- The B117 variant has been cited as the likely driver of new case growth, though vaccination efforts remain robust which may limit the rate growth.
4 Things That Really Matter For Stocks in 2021
On the LPL Market Signals podcast, Chief Market Strategist Ryan Detrick and Equity Strategist Jeff Buchbinder discuss four things that matter the most for stocks in 2021.
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