Gloom Time In The Casino: “Nothing Is Working”

Via ConvergEx’s Nicholas Colas,

Netflix may be the only SP 500 name that has doubled in 2015, but it’s not really the most important stock in the index.  First, there is Amazon, up 72% on the year. The online retailer is the single reason the large cap Consumer Discretionary sector is up on the year, for without AMZN’s 9% weighting that group would be down over 3% instead of 3.4% higher. Then there is UnitedHealth, 20% higher on the year, which is enough to make Health Care “Green on the screen” for 2015. Without it, that sector would also be negative in 2015. Why all the fuss?  Because these are the only industry groups in the SP 500 that are up for the year, but it’s all because of those 2 stocks.


Pull back the curtain on the entire set of global capital markets, and the story is similarly dreary. Domestic bonds?  Down 1-5%.  Precious metals?  Down 3-4%. Developed economy equities?  Down 6%.  Emerging economies?  Down 17%.  Fourth quarter 2015, which starts in 4 trading days, will be a lively period as investors work out which of these asset classes will go positive and which will sink further.  In short, for many active investors the year comes down to the next 3 months.

With less than 100 calendars days – and only 69 trading days – left in 2015 it’s not too early to consider what kind of year we’ve had in capital markets. Simply put, it stinks. That assessment isn’t just because of the -6.1% return for the SP 500 year to date.  Rather, it is because essentially nothing has been working. Consider:

U.S. stocks, regardless of market cap range, are down on the year. The SP 400 Mid Caps are down 4.3%, and the 600 Small Cap Index is down the same

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