Most of the time, the U.S. stock market looks to 3 factors (call them the “pillars” which support the stock market) to support its upward trend – let’s grade each of the pillars.
CONSUMER SPENDING: This grade is A- (very favorable). Favorable activity in the housing market continues to support growth in the level of spending.
THE FED AND ITS POLICIES: This factor is rated A (very favorable). Economic reports indicate the U.S. economy is improving.
BUSINESS PROFITABILITY: This factor’s grade is a C- (below average). So far this quarterly reporting period, quarterly profits are slightly ahead of expectations but down from the prior period. Looking ahead, comparable profits will be easier to beat, on average, because lower energy sector profits are in the base period. This factor’s grade may be increased after more data becomes available.
OTHER CONCERNS: The “Heat Map” is indicating the U.S. stock market is in OK shape ASSUMING no international crisis. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest level of crisis, we rate these international risks collectively as a 4. These risks deserve our ongoing attention.