|Bid||79.06 x 900|
|Ask||79.50 x 27000|
|Day's Range||79.14 - 79.29|
|52 Week Range||77.46 - 80.96|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.03|
|Expense Ratio (net)||0.05%|
January BAML Survey: Fund Managers Bearish, but No Recession Yet(Continued from Prior Part)Concerns about corporate leverageAs reported by CNBC, according to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey for January, hedge fund managers’ chief concern
Most of Gundlach’s 2018 Calls Were Spot On—What about 2019? (Continued from Prior Part) ## Gundlach on US federal debt As reported by Reuters, Jeffrey Gundlach called the ballooning US (SPY) (VOO) federal government debt “a completely horrific situation.” In 2018, total US debt increased by $1.4 trillion, far more than the ~$900 billion budget deficit. Gundlach also said that the United States could be at a “tipping point” in a “debt-compounding cycle.” He asked, “Are we growing at all or is it all just the increase in debt?” ## Ballooning interest costs Moreover, Gundlach cited data provided by the CBO (Congressional Budget Office), which reflect rising interest costs for the US government. The CBO expects debt to reach 3.7% of GDP by 2035 from ~1.4% in 2015. ## Corporate leverage is also bad Gundlach is also focused on corporate leverage and said that there is a significant risk of downgrades in the BBB space as leverage has risen to near record highs. Gundlach used a historical leverage ratio analysis to highlight how large a portion of BBB rated bonds (BND) would be junk (JNK) right now. As reported by Yahoo finance, Gundlach said, “Actually, 45% of the entire investment grade bond market would be rated junk right now … based on leverage ratios. Forty-five percent.” Gundlach has also stated that while downgrades have started to happen, even more should have happened already. He thus expects a wave of downgrades to come. Continue to Next Part Browse this series on Market Realist: * Part 1 - Most of Gundlach’s 2018 Calls Were Spot On—What about 2019? * Part 2 - Jeffrey Gundlach: How to Survive the Market Zigzags in 2019 * Part 3 - Gundlach: Junk Bond Market Is Flashing Yellow on Recession
Most of Gundlach’s 2018 Calls Were Spot On—What about 2019? (Continued from Prior Part) ## How near are we to a recession? Currently, one of the questions on the minds of most investors is whether we are entering a recession. According to a chart shown by Jeffrey Gundlach, if we consider the way junk bond spreads have generally behaved six months ahead of recessions, we’ll find that there’s no immediate contraction on the horizon. He notes, however, that according to the red line in the graph above, the recession risk is rising even if it’s still relatively early. ## Flashing yellow Gundlach is somewhat concerned about the high-yield junk bond (JNK) market, which he’s said is now “flashing yellow.” He added that while this could be a “false negative,” it’s “something we’re going to have to watch very, very carefully.” Gundlach also thinks that the corporate bond market has the potential for negative surprises. He thus advises investors to use the strength of junk bonds as a gift and get out of them. ## Yield curve and recession fears Regarding his outlook on the yield curve, the bond king has said that contrary to conventional wisdom, he expects the bond curve (TLT) (BND) to steepen. He noted that the yield curve will flatten but will steepen before a recession begins. At the beginning of December, part of the US Treasuries yield curve inverted for the first time since the recession, with the spread between five- and three-year Treasury yields narrowing to -0.01 percentage points. The most-watched spread, the one between the two- and ten-year Treasury yields, also narrowed the most it had since the previous recession. The markets (DIA) (IVV) have been concerned that more hikes from the Fed could invert the curve, which has usually been an accurate predictor of upcoming recessions. Continue to Next Part Browse this series on Market Realist: * Part 1 - Most of Gundlach’s 2018 Calls Were Spot On—What about 2019? * Part 2 - Jeffrey Gundlach: How to Survive the Market Zigzags in 2019 * Part 4 - Why Gundlach Expects a Wave of Corporate Downgrades to Come
Jeffrey Gundlach expects 2019 to continue to be a volatile year. Gundlach believes that higher yields on bonds (HYG) (BND) will hurt stocks in what he’s called a “tug of war,” as reported by CNBC. Gundlach believes that due to buybacks, the equity markets have turned into a collateralized debt obligation residual, which he believes is “getting thinner and thinner, riskier and riskier.” He added, “So, the balance sheets of corporations are balanced on ever-dwindling equities as they buy back shares and increase their leverage ratios.
The non-farm payrolls for the US (IVV) (QQQ) were 155,000 in November, which underwhelmed economists’ consensus of 198,000. October’s non-farm payrolls (or NFP) were also revised down to 237,000 from 250,000 previously, while September’s NFP were revised higher by 1,000 to 119,000. After last month’s weaker job additions, economists are expecting payrolls to come in at 180,000, which is lower than the average for the first 11 months of 2018 but still healthy.
The US Department of Labor (VTI) is set to release December employment data on January 4. What Wall Street wants from the December jobs report is not very clear. While a strong jobs report would mean continued strength in the US economy, it could also entail a continuation of gradual rate hikes by the Fed. The markets definitely don’t want to see this at the moment.
Is Gold Ready to Fly in the New Year? Investors’ economic and earnings outlook for 2019 is getting bearish. Leading indicators are signaling a slowdown in US economic growth, and earnings’ approaching deceleration is worrying investors.
Bulls versus Bears on Wall Street: Time to Buy Gold in 2019? In contrast to Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s bullish view on gold (GLD) in 2019, JPMorgan Chase (JPM) expects gold (NUGT) and silver’s (SLV) performance to remain to lukewarm—at least in the first half of 2019. Unlike BAML, JPM is neutral on gold and silver in the first half of 2019 and expects prices to hold between $1,200 and $1,250 per ounce.
Goldman Sachs (GS) turned positive on gold (GLD) for the first time in more than five years back in March. In a report published in March, GS cited an uptick in inflation and increased risk of a stock market correction as the major reasons for the bullish gold price view. This view from GS came despite its hawkish outlook on the Fed’s rate hikes. GS noted that rising volatility (VXX) and a potential for further sell-off in equities make them bullish on gold despite the higher interest rate outlook.
While talking to CNBC in September, Ray Dalio said that investors should get “more defensive” in the stock market, and warned that stocks’ upside looks limited. He added that the projected returns for stocks relative to cash and bonds (BND) look “sort of about right.”
Another concerning statistic that came to light during the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Fund Manager Survey was that investors made the largest ever one-month rotation into bonds (BND). As reported by CNBC, the survey said, “Investors are approaching extreme bearishness…This month’s survey [found] the biggest ever one-month rotation into the asset class.” The bond allocations rose 23 percentage points to net 35% underweight, the highest allocation to bonds since the Brexit vote in June 2016. The allocation to bonds also rose amid a drop in inflation expectations.
Could Market Risks Bring Investors Back to Gold in 2019? The yield curve tracks the yields of Treasury securities maturing at different times. The narrowing gap between these yields is sometimes called a “flattening yield curve.” If shorter-term security yields become larger than longer-term security yields, that’s called a “yield curve inversion” (BND).
Talking to CNBC, “bond king” and DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said of the Federal Reserve, “I think they shouldn’t raise [rates] this week. Gundlach added that the Fed has shouldn’t have kept rates (AGG) so low for this long. As we highlighted in What Will the Fed’s December Meeting Mean for Markets?, the Fed is widely expected to raise the interest rates (BND) by 25 basis points at its December 18–19 meeting.
Could Market Risks Bring Investors Back to Gold in 2019? The key factors supporting the greenback in 2018 have been the Fed’s interest rate hikes and outlook, trade war concerns, and the outperformance of US markets (SPY)(QQQ). The Federal Reserve has already raised rates three times this year, and it’s expected to raise them for a fourth time in December.
What Will the Fed’s December Meeting Mean for Markets? The Federal Reserve is set to meet December 18–19 for its last policy meeting of the year. The Fed has already raised interest rates three times this year and eight times since it started raising rates in December 2015.
Could Market Risks Bring Investors Back to Gold in 2019? During an investor webcast on December 11, DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach painted quite a bearish picture of stocks, bonds, and the US economy (SPY)(DIA). Gundlach also cited an Atlanta Fed study that calculates that an unwinding of $600 billion from the Fed balance sheet is equivalent to three interest rate hikes.
Lipper data showed that investors withdrew record cash from US-based stock and bond funds for the week ending December 12. While a record $46.2 billion was taken out from US stock mutual fund ETFs (SPY) (VTI), a near-record $13.4 billion was withdrawn from bonds (AGG) (BND). According to Lipper, the average US-based equity fund has fallen 6.3% year-to-date through December 11, while its bond counterpart has fallen 0.9%.
The unemployment rate for October remained steady at 3.7%. The labor force participation rate also inched up to 62.9% from 62.7% in September. This unemployment rate is the lowest level in the last 49 years.
As the new year approaches, a lot of people make financial resolutions, most of which include something along the lines of building a better core portfolio. Although it sounds difficult, exchange-traded funds can help you accomplish this without too much extra thought. Your core could the most important piece of your investment puzzle, and picking the right ETFs to buy will make finding this vital piece a much easier task as we head into the new year.
Since the Fed might increase short-term rates by another 25 basis points at the December meeting, the yield curve (BND) could invert. The Fed has maintained that its future decisions will depend on market data (SPY) (IVV).
During an interview with Reuters, DoubleLine CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said that the current inversion of the yield curve (TLT) could signal that the US “economy is poised to weaken.” He added that the inversion at the short-end of the Treasury yield curve implies that the bond market doesn’t think the Fed plans to raise interest rates through 2019. As we discussed in Yield Curve Inverts for the First Time since 2007: What to Know, the spread between five and three-year Treasury yields narrowed to -0.01 percentage points on December 5.