What Will Be The 2022 Song?

January 2, 2022

Weekly Market Outlook

By Keith Schneider


blankFirst, we wish all of our Big View readers a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2022!

When we discuss investment returns, it was a good 2021.

There were certainly many challenges during 2021, including the ongoing strife caused by COVID, geopolitical tensions, rising crime, inflation, worker shortages, etc. However, investment returns were positive, considerable, and once again, they spoiled the average investor.

Heed our words: three straight double-digit returns are not the norm.

Folks, the long-term average of the stock market is about 8%, so any year we get close to that, we are on a normal trajectory of average stock market returns. When you have three good to great years, one must take note that at some point, there will be a reversion to the mean; market returns will inevitably fall back to long-term averages.

There are many reasons that the markets produced substantial returns during 2021, not the least of which was the Fed’s continued contribution to buying securities along with the government’s infusion of monetary easing to help rescue parts of the economy that suffered through the partial shutdown of 2020.

Additionally, earnings increased dramatically year over year with double-digit earnings growth for the S&P 500 (estimated 19%).

Marry easy monetary policy, fiscal stimulus, and strong earnings growth with massive stock buybacks (to the tune of $850 billion or more), and you have a foundational recipe for good stock market returns.

If you review the best places to have invested during 2021, you’ll find some sure-fire winners - many of which our guidance was fortunate to call.

Here are a few areas we alerted readers and members to and took advantage of:

  • Energy’s liftoff and rise (USO & ERX) and specifically Natural Gas (UNG)
  • Semiconductors which a few models had invested in (SOXL)
  • Retail (RETL)
  • Commodity ETFs like DBC, DBA, CANE, WEAT
  • The US dollar (UUP)
  • Cryptocurrencies (SOL, DOT)

What Song Might We Hear Next?

That is the million, or let us say, billion-dollar question that everyone from the top analysts, hedge fund managers, pension fund administrators, RIAs, and individual investors are all asking.

We DO NOT have a crystal ball, and thankfully, many of our investment strategies are quantitative and will react quickly to the unfolding trends in the market.

We are also blessed with three founders and a great team of analysts who have been trading the markets for many years. One of them, our own Michele “Mish” Schneider, Director of Research, appears almost daily on national TV shows (click here for replays) with thoughts about what this next year may bring.

For summary purposes here, we have listed a few of the points that make up her “song” for the New Year:

  • Continuation of the inflation trade. This should benefit materials, agricultural and commodity stocks, and ETF’s.
  • Transportation looks to have a potential “breakout year” once things settle down with COVID and airplanes, specifically, have less disrupted schedules.
  • Retail sales stay strong, and consumer optimism remains high, provided inflation does not create out of sight pricing.
  • Gold, silver, and other metals/mining may have a breakout year and catch up as the dollar declines. Strong demand for inputs for technology products continues to fuel scarce mineral demand throughout the world.
  • Rates trend up but not too drastically, and the Fed is challenged on whether to raise rates faster than expected based on inflation.
  • Cash may be king at times (follow Alpha Rotation for more guidance) as we get hit with corrections as multiples contract as a result of rising rates or higher trending inflation.
  • Energy prices continue trending higher spurred by rising demand especially from the transportation sector (see above). This will create desirable energy trading opportunities.

We think an overriding principle that may take hold is the demise of the 60/40 portfolio which has been the big winner these past 10 years. If we see stocks being challenged during 2022 along with negative returns in broad-based fixed-income investments, the 60/40 construct may become an unfavorable path.

With an aging population, and more than five million new retirees these past two years, Americans will have to find an alternative path to create growth and income. The opportunity for MarketGauge subscribers/users remains high. We will work hard in 2022 to see to it that your investment dollars are treated well, and together, we’ll avoid some of the pitfalls we may face.

 

Risk On/Bullish

  • Transportation (IYT) showed risk-on sentiment as it maintained its current level
  • Semiconductors (SMH) got a bit overbought and is mean-reverting after making new all-time highs and testing the top of its 2-month trading range, but is still a leading sector
  • SPY and DIA made new all-time highs
  • Every major market sector that we monitor was positive over the past week, with Real Estate (IYR) and Homebuilders (XHB) leading the rally up
  • The weakest performing sectors this week (although still positive) were Financials (XLF), Consumer Discretionary (XLY), Technology (XLK), and Semiconductors (SMH)
  • Underlying market sentiment appears to have improved according to the Hindenburg Omen indicator, which has backed off from over 20 omens back down to 16 omens now, a definite risk-on indication
  • New Highs/New Lows for SPY improved to a risk-on scenario as well
  • Established Markets (EFA) has successfully mean reverted from the bottom of its year-long trading range, and if it can clear either of its longer-term 50 or 200-day moving averages, we could see a significant move back towards the top of its range

 

Risk Off/Bearish


Neutral Metrics

  • Risk gauges improved to bullish to start the week, but are now neutral for the 3 key indices
  • Low holiday volume patterns are not definitive at the moment, with slightly more distribution than accumulation days over the past two weeks in the indices
  • Inflation-adjusted Bonds (TIP) have regained its 50-day moving average, while interest rates, in general, remain under pressure, while the Blended US Bond ETF (BND) is drastically underperforming the SPY on a relative basis
  • New Highs/New Lows for the NASDAQ Composite ($COMPX) is not nearly as strong the same measure for NYSE stocks, and it is still looking to bounce from oversold levels
  • Interestingly, the US Dollar (UUP) looks under pressure and is at support at its 50-day moving average, while the Euro (FXE) is looking to break through its 50-day moving average… nearly opposite chart patterns between the two

 

Crypto Pulse (click here for more crypto analysis)

  • Bitcoin sold off more than -6% on Tuesday, but is still maintaining its December trading range with support at $45,500
  • Ethereum took a -7% hit this week, but still relatively outperformed its biggest Layer 1 competitors Solana (SOL) -11.3%, and Terra (LUNA) -10.3%
  • Algorand (ALGO) +3.1% was the top-performing large-cap cryptocurrency this week because of the announcement for the Algofi staking rewards program in Q1 2022
  • According to the Triple Play indicator, Bitcoin has underperformed the SPY on a relative basis since the last week of November

Content for this article was contributed by: Keith Schneider, Donn Goodman, and Holden Milstein

 

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