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Heads Up!

April 18, 2017 | Weekly Commentary

On March 9, this bull market, the second longest in history, became eight years old, but if we have to play class monitor, so be it.

Corporate tax relief, infrastructure spending, Affordable Care Act change, and a more lenient regulatory approach are the four legs that support the market’s pro-growth Trump jump. Tax cuts are arguably the most important. It’s a discrete item markets love to latch on to.  And, that is the reason we have taken the job as class monitor – see Update-Washington below for our progress report – zilch!

And, here are some sobering points to keep in mind:

  • The rally impetus from the so-called Trump trade seems depleted. There’s a bit of worry over whether those policies will get implemented.
  • There also is concern that the U.S. economy isn’t expanding as strongly as hoped. The recent unexpected rally in Treasury bonds has stock-market watchers worried growth is slowing.
  • Two weeks ago, the U.S. launched missiles at a Syrian airfield, and American relations with both Russia and North Korea are tense.
  • French elections begin April 23; markets fear a victory by nationalist candidate Marine Le Pen.
  • April 28 offers an expiration of Congress’ continuing-resolution budget bill. If there is no agreement on the measure by then, the government could shut down the next day.
  • With a market price/earnings ratio of 18 times, stocks are not cheap, though the 2018 price/earnings is a more reasonable 16 times—assuming that the Standard & Poor’s 500 index earnings per share grow 12% in 2018, as analysts expect.

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