photo by Beverly & Pack
Written by Dave Young, President
During the second half of 2008 and the first three months of 2009, politics had more of a negative impact on investors than I have seen in 23 years of wealth management. Over the last nine months that negative impact seemed to diminish, and we saw a serious rally in the market.
As we move into earnings announcements, the market looks pretty good.
So far, about 65% of companies are beating their estimate, which is exceptional. Normally, you would expect the market to continue gaining ground. That is usually how it works, solid earnings translate into a happy stock market.
Instead, this week politics trumped earnings.
Tuesday, we saw the Dow Industrials rally 115 points in anticipation of Scott Brown, a republican, winning a Massachusetts senate seat. That was perceived as positive by investors because it broke the democratic majority in the Senate and indicated a more bipartisan approach to government going forward.
Wednesday, politicians in China decided that their economy was growing too fast. (In the big picture, that seems like a good problem.) They announced some steps they were going to take to slow down their economy. That caused world markets to sell off, with the Dow losing 122 points.
Thursday, the Dow dropped 213 points after Obama announced they were going to regulate the size of banks and impose a 100 billion dollar tax on them.
This was viewed as a populist response by the administration. The market did not like the tax because it was largely viewed as unfair. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the automakers who were all large contributors to the economic mess of the last two years, were exempt from the tax. Meanwhile, many of the banks that did not want government money and/or have since paid it back are going to be taxed punitively. Markets did not see that as a good idea and sold off significantly.
Today, Friday, word leaked out that both Republicans and Democrats are potentially blocking Fed chief, Ben Bernanke's confirmation to a second term. Most investors believe that Bernanke, not perfect, is the best choice to lead the Fed in this environment. Politicians need someone to throw under the bus and blame for their economic mess so Bernanke seems to be the likely candidate. Investors, once again, see this as another bad decision and sell their stocks with the Dow losing another 216 points.
All in all it was a rough week for the market. Will politicians ever get it right?
Regardless, we'll continue to follow our models and adjust our investment portfolios accordingly.
What do you think? Feel free to leave comments.
Paragon Wealth Management is a provider of managed portfolios for individuals and institutions. Although the information included in this report has been obtained from sources Paragon believes to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy. All opinions and estimates included in this report constitute the judgment as of the dates indicated and are subject to change without notice. This report is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.