Stock market corrections (a decline of 10 percent) are a normal and healthy part of a bull market‡. We have all been concerned that we haven’t seen a correction since 2011, as the markets went virtually straight up with very little volatility. And then came August 2015.
We think this is a correction: a violent reaction to four primary factors.
The recent economic news was surprisingly good for the United States and even for Europe, perhaps suggesting that China is not the be-all and end-all of the world economy. U.S. housing data was especially strong this week with housing starts and existing-home sales reaching post-recovery highs. Those strong numbers should have a trickle-down effect on the U.S. economy as those homes are financed, furnished and remodeled.
China’s economy has slowed throughout the past few years and clearly is not growing at a 7 percent rate, the country’s official GDP growth estimate. Other variables such as electricity consumption, rail car volumes and airline traffic all point to a growth rate slowdown, but not a collapse. The question is how will China’s slowdown affect the U.S. economy?
U.S. exports to China account for 8 percent of total exports and only 1.2 percent of GDP. Admittedly, exports to other Asian economies account for another 15 percent of exports, but the risks of a widespread Asian financial crisis resembling what happened in 1997 and 1998 are quite low.
Many have cited the Chinese stock market as an indicator of their economic outlook. The 40 percent decline in the Chinese stock market since June has nothing to do with any deterioration in the Chinese economy, just as the 58 percent surge in the first half of this year didn’t reflect a genuine improvement in economic fundamentals. It’s worth remembering that the Shanghai composite index‡ is still up by 38 percent throughout the past 12 months.
The Federal Reserve (the Fed) has been clear that its decision to hike rates will be data-dependent. But is it also market dependent? We don’t think the Fed will ignore what is happening in the financial markets. The probability of liftoff in September has been reduced significantly. Most bear markets (a decline of 20 percent) come from Fed tightening and upcoming economic recessions. The Fed doesn’t want to commit a “policy mistake” and be blamed for a bear market or a recession.
Europe just initiated a quantitative easing program‡ earlier this year. This should bolster both its economy and investor sentiment, and mitigate downside pressure on its markets.
China’s policymakers also have plenty of scope for further stimulus, both monetary and fiscal. In fact, as I write this, China has lowered interest rates.
U.S. Stock Market
The last time we saw a correction using closing prices was in 2011, when from May to August the S&P 500 declined 11.1 percent. Last year we saw a correction in October; it was slightly less than a 10 percent correction and recovered quickly. Following are current returns as of this writing:
Some markets, such as commodities, are in a bear market:
There is clearly a revaluation of global growth.
What does this mean for equities‡? Based on the recent market correction, it will be difficult for the S&P 500 to reach new highs in 2015. However, the average decline of all corrections greater than 5 percent since the 1920s may indicate that we are close to the lows for this year. The average peak-to-trough decline during a 5+ percent correction is -12 percent, which implies a low of 1870 on the S&P 500 or 3 percent lower at the time of this publication. Potential positive catalysts for the market to go back to recent highs include clarity on the Fed and China.
What does this mean for interest rates? Clearly, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) ‡ might use recent turbulence as a reason to postpone initiation of liftoff for rates — the risk of being accused of making a policy mistake will likely mean there is no adjustment of rates at the September meeting. However, if we are correct that recent market turbulence has merely been a valuation reset, and longer-term economic outlooks remain reasonably stable, we expect rates to begin an upward move in the near future.
When you click links marked with the “‡” symbol, you will leave UMB’s website and go to websites that are not controlled by or affiliated with UMB. We have provided these links for your convenience. However, we do not endorse or guarantee any products or services you may view on other sites. Other websites may not follow the same privacy policies and security procedures that UMB does, so please review their policies and procedures carefully.
DISCLOSURE AND IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:
UMB Investment Management is a division within UMB Bank, n.a. that manages active portfolios for employee benefit plans, endowments and foundations, fiduciary accounts and individuals. UMB Financial Services, Inc.* is a wholly owned subsidiary of UMB Financial Corporation, and an affiliate of UMB Bank, n.a. UMB Bank, n.a., is an affiliate within the UMB Financial Corporation.
This report is provided for informational purposes only and contains no investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any specific securities. Statements in this report are based on the opinions of UMB Private Wealth Management and the information available at the time this report was published.
All opinions represent our judgments as of the date of this report and are subject to change at any time without notice. You should not use this report as a substitute for your own judgment, and you should consult professional advisors before making any tax, legal, financial planning or investment decisions. This report contains no investment recommendations and you should not interpret the statements in this report as investment, tax, legal, or financial planning advice. UMB Private Wealth Management obtained information used in this report from third-party sources it believes to be reliable, but this information is not necessarily comprehensive and UMB Private Wealth Management does not guarantee that it is accurate.
All investments involve risk, including the possible loss of principal. This information is not intended to be a forecast of future events and this is no guarantee of any future results. Neither UMB Private Wealth Management nor its affiliates, directors, officers, employees or agents accepts any liability for any loss or damage arising out of your use of all or any part of this report.
“UMB” – Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off. Copyright © 2015. UMB Financial Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
*Securities offered through UMB Financial Services, Inc. member FINRA, SIPC, or the Investment Banking Division of UMB Bank, n.a.
Insurance products offered through UMB Insurance, Inc. You may not have an account with all of these entities. Contact your UMB representative if you have any questions.
Securities and Insurance products are:
NOT FDIC INSURED * NO BANK GUARANTEE * NOT A DEPOSIT * NOT INSURED BY ANY GOVERNMENT AGENCY * MAY LOSE VALUE
K.C. Mathews joined UMB in 2002. As executive vice president and chief investment officer, Mr. Mathews is responsible for the development, execution and oversight of UMB’s investment strategy. He is chairman of the Trust Investment, Asset Allocation and Trust Policy Committees. Mr. Mathews has more than 20 years of diverse experience in the investment industry. Prior to joining UMB, he served as vice president and manager of the portfolio management group at Bank of Oklahoma for nine years. Mr. Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame. Mr. Mathews attended the ABA National Trust School at Northwestern University and is a Chartered Financial Analyst and member of the CFA Institute. He is past president of the Kansas City CFA Society and a past president of the Oklahoma Society of Financial Analysts.
Leave a Comment