Signature Wealth Market Update

May 2021 Market Update

There has been an impressive rotation out of technology stocks and into industrial, basic materials, and financial stocks in 2021, and the first couple of weeks of May have seen that rotation continue. Basically, the stocks that outperformed in 2020 are underperforming in 2021, and vice versa. Of course, there are exceptions, but this trend has generally held true.

Further, the equal-weighted S&P 500 index is outperforming the market-cap weighted S&P 500 (that’s the one that is usually referenced), meaning that the average stock is outperforming the biggest stocks. In my mind, this is a positive, as it implies that there is a lot of strength underlying the market, and it also implies that the average investor, who may not be top-loaded in the biggest stocks, is having a good year.

This week it was reported that inflation jumped to 3%, which was well above estimates. Drastically influencing this monthly reading is the swift economic reopening accompanied by enormous stimulus and supply chain shortages (everything from microchips to gasoline… remember last year when we were hunting for toilet paper and hand sanitizer!). For example, used car prices were up an astounding 16.2% over the previous month, airline prices were up 10.2% and hotel prices rose 8.8%, which seem like unsustainably high numbers. For those reasons, you’ll hear economists describe inflation as “transitory,” meaning they think that these numbers can’t (and won’t) continue.

Nevertheless, this “inflation scare” is creating volatility in stocks, particularly the growth names (like technology). I believe this will result in a buying opportunity for equities on a potential pullback. However, it is hard to predict how far or long it will go. The market as a whole is not deeply oversold yet, but the overall trend remains bullish with plenty of potential support levels nearby.

We are carefully monitoring the impact of inflation and, while I think the odds are that it will pass through the economy in a short period of time, I can’t deny that there has been a lot of stimulus, which certainly has the potential to cause inflation. I’m watching the Federal Reserve’s actions, and if they start to reduce the amount of stimulus they are providing, it may be a warning sign for stocks. The bond market appears to be taking the inflation news in stride, as interest rates did not get back to the highs they were at in March. Bonds tend to be very inflation-sensitive, so the fact that yields did not surpass old highs is probably a good sign for stock prices.

I still favor technology, industrial, and financial sector stocks, and I would still overweight stocks in a portfolio and underweight bonds. I prefer US stocks to international ones, as well. While valuations are not cheap, it looks to me that economic fundamentals will catch up, providing the necessary support for stocks.

After a break from Required Minimum Distributions from IRAs last year, they must be taken in 2021. You have all year to do it, but I advise not waiting until December. There’s an old adage “sell in May and go away,” meaning that many times in the past, stocks had a short-term peak in May. In my mind, this has always made May seem like a logical time to take IRA distributions, as the IRA account may have hit its high-water mark for a few months. Of course, blanket recommendations don’t apply to everyone, and adages aren’t rules, but it’s worth considering. And don’t forget that you may be eligible to give your distribution directly to a charity, which has the potential to help you out on taxes. Check with your CPA on that, though, as we don’t provide tax advice.

Finally, Memorial Day is coming up soon, marking the unofficial start to Summer. More importantly, it is a day dedicated to honoring the Americans who have sacrificed their lives while serving in the military. The team at Signature Wealth thanks all who have served, and is especially grateful those who sacrificed so much for our country.

As always, these opinions are mine, and may or may not be the same as those of Raymond James. This is not a solicitation to invest, although we do invite you to review your portfolio with us to see if any changes should be made.

Past performance may not be indicative of future results. There is no assurance any of the trends mentioned will continue or forecasts will occur. Investing involves risk including the possible loss of capital. Asset allocation and diversification do not guarantee a profit nor protect against loss.

The foregoing is not a recommendation to buy or sell any individual security or any combination of securities.

The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. Individuals cannot invest directly in any index. Index performance does not include transaction costs or other fees, which will affect investment performance. Individual investor results will vary. Every investor’s situation is unique and you should consider your investment goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon before making any investment. Sector investments are companies engaged in business related to a specific sector. They are subject to fierce competition and their products and services may be subject to rapid obsolescence. There are additional risks associated with investing in an individual sector, including limited diversification. The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete, it is not a statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision, and it does not constitute a recommendation. Any opinions are those of Scott Mitchell and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James does not provide tax or legal services. Please discuss these matters with the appropriate professional.

About Scott Mitchell

AAMS ®, Chief Investment Officer SWG, Senior Wealth Advisor RJFS, Scott is a cum laude graduate of Wake Forest University School of Business. He received additional training from the College of Financial Planning and earned the accreditation of Accredited Asset Management Specialist℠ as well as earning the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® designation.  Scott began his career at Southern National Bank. He then joined his father, Bob Mitchell, at First Union Securities for six years. At Signature, Scott directs investment strategy for the team and oversees the research and management of individual stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Scott lives in Florence with his wife and two children. He is a member and past President of St. Luke Lutheran Church, member and past President of the Florence Rotary Club, and on the board of directors of the Pee Dee Area Big Brothers and Big Sisters. Follow Scott on LinkedIn. Raymond James is not affiliated with any of the above-mentioned organizations.