September 19, 2017, 6:00 pm EST Invest Alongside Billionaires For $297/Qtr
With a Fed decision queued up for tomorrow, let’s take a look at how the rates picture has evolved this year.
The Fed has continued to act like speculators, placing bets on the prospects of fiscal stimulus and hotter growth. And they’ve proven not to be very good.
Remember, they finally kicked off their rate “normalization” plan in December of 2015. With things relatively stable globally, the slow U.S. recovery still on path, and with U.S. stocks near the record highs, they pulled the trigger on a 25 basis point hike in late 2015. And they projected at that time to hike another four times over the coming year (2016).
Stocks proceeded to slide by 13% over the next month. Market interest rates (the 10 year yield) went down, not up, following the hike — and not by a little, but by a lot. The 10 year yield fell from 2.33% to 1.53% over the next two months. And by April, the Fed walked back on their big promises for a tightening campaign. And the messaging began turning dark. The Fed went from talking about four hikes in a year, to talking about the prospects of going to negative interest rates.
That was until the U.S. elections. Suddenly, the outlook for the global economy changed, with the idea that big fiscal stimulus could be coming. So without any data justification for changing gears (for an institution that constantly beats the drum of “data dependence”), the Fed went right back to its hawkish mantra/ tightening game plan.
With that, they hit the reset button in December, and went back to the old game plan. They hiked in December. They told us more were coming this year. And, so far, they’ve hiked in March and June.
Below is how the interest rate market has responded. Rates have gone lower after each hike. Just in the past couple of days have, however, we returned to levels (and slightly above) where we stood going into the June hike.
But if you believe in the growing prospects of policy execution, which we’ve been discussing, you have to think this behavior in market rates (going lower) are coming to an end (i.e. higher rates).
As I said, the Hurricanes represented a crisis that May Be The Turning Point For Trump. This was an opportunity for the President to show leadership in a time people were looking for leadership. And it was a chance for the public perception to begin to shift. And it did. The bottom was marked in Trump pessimism. And much needed policy execution has been kickstarted by the need for Congress to come together to get the debt ceiling raised and hurricane aid approved. And I suspect that Trump’s address to the U.N. today will add further support to this building momentum of sentiment turnaround for the administration. With this, I would expect to hear a hawkish Fed tomorrow.
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The S&P 500 is now more than 200% higher than at its crisis-induced 2009 lows. Despite the powerful recovery in stocks, the rally has had few believers. All along the way, skeptics have pointed to threats in Europe, domestic debt issues, central bank meddling, political stalemates, perceived asset bubbles — you name it. As it relates to stocks, they’ve all been dead wrong.
The truth is, global central banks are in control. They have been coordinating since 2009 to save the worldwide economy from an apocalyptic spiral. Because the crisis was global, and the structural problems remain highly intertwined globally, the only hope toward achieving a return to sustainable growth was through a coordinated effort to restore stability and confidence. And with that backdrop, they had to create incentives for people to take risk again. It has worked! With the Fed moving closer to exiting emergency policies, this past year, the QE baton has been passed from the Fed to the ECB and the BOJ.
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As part of the massive QE programs in Europe and Japan, the Bank of Japan has been outright buying stocks and the ECB might be next. After doubling the value of the Nikkei with his economic stimulus program, the architect of Abenomics, Prime Minister Abe, has said they are only “half way to its goals.” With the tail-winds of central bank influence to continue (Reason #1 to buy stocks). Here are three more simple reasons you should be buying, not selling, stocks:
If we applied the long-run annualized return for stocks (8%) to the pre-crisis highs of 1,576 on the S&P 500, we get 3,150 by the end of next year, when the Fed is expected to begin the slow process toward normalizing rates. That’s nearly 52% higher than current levels. Below you can see the table of the S&P 500, projecting this “normal” growth rate to stocks.
In addition to the above, consider this: The P/E on next year’s S&P 500 earnings estimate is just 16.2, in line with the long-term average (16). But we are not just in a low-interest-rate environment, we are in the mother of all low-interest-rate environments (ZERO). With that, when the 10-year yield runs on the low side, historically, the P/E on the S&P 500 runs closer to 20, if not north of it. If we multiply next year’s consensus earnings estimate for the S&P 500 of $126.77 by 20 (where stocks to be valued in low rate environments), we get 2,535 for the S&P 500 by next year — 23% higher.
3) Recession Risk
For those who argue the economy is fragile, the bond market disagrees with you. The yield curve may be the best predictor of recessions historically. Yield curve inversions (where short rates move above longer-term rates) have preceded each of the last seven recessions. Based on this analysis, the below chart from the Cleveland Fed shows the current recession risk at 3.66% — virtually nil.
What about the impact on stocks of a rate hiking cycle? Historically, through the past six rate hiking cycles stocks have performed well, contrary to popular belief. Still, there is an important distinction this time: The Fed moving away from emergency policies is a celebratory event for stocks and the economy. After nine years of crisis, and a near global apocalypse, the Fed thinks the economy is robust enough take down the “high alert” flag.
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The Carl Icahn Effect & How It Can Work For You
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn made news again this week, with an open letter to Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook. As most know, the “Icahn Effect” has been a powerful one for Apple shareholders. Since he first announced a stake in Apple in August of 2013, the stock has more than doubled. In fact, each time Icahn publicly talks about Apple, the stock tends to go up.
But this time, instead of following Icahn into Apple, there is a another Icahn-owned stock that offers more upside. Plus, it comes with an added bonus: You can buy it at a cheaper price than what Icahn paid for his shares.
Icahn initiated a position in Manitowoc (symbol MTW) in late 2014 at $20.03 a share. He then added to his position in early 2015 at $20.69 a share. The stock now sells for $19.75. So the world’s best investor just did all the work for you. By his actions, he’s telling us that he thinks Manitowoc is cheap at $20.40. And that’s almost a $1 more than where the stock trades today.
Icahn owns almost 8% of Manitowoc now. And in February the company agreed to Icahn’s demand to separate its two businesses into two different companies, one for its crane business and the other for its food service business. According to analysts, this separation will create value for shareholders and could reprice the stock to $30 a share — or 50% return from its share price today. In addition to the potential revaluation of MTW shares from the split of its business lines, MTW is cheap on its current valuation. The stock trades at just 14 times forward earnings.
So today, you can get an edge on the world’s best investor by buying Manitowoc at a cheaper price than he did. And he is working for you, as a vocal shareholder, to unlock potentially 50% more value in the stock. Not a bad deal.
BillionairesPortfolio.com helps average investors invest alongside Wall Street billionaires. By selecting the best ideas from the best billionaire investors and hedge funds, our exited stock investment recommendations have averaged a 31% gain since 2012, beating even Carl Icahn’s record for the same period.
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