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“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill
Below is a snippet of commentary from today’s Morning Lineup. Start a two-week trial to Bespoke Premium to view the full report.
The rally continues to roll this morning as positive earnings from Netflix (NFLX) and ASML drag the rest of the market up along with it. Even with the positive tone from NFLX, there are several high-profile duds this morning as DuPont (DD), Kimberly Clark (KMB), and Texas Instruments (TXN) are all down either in reaction to earnings or due to lowered guidance. Besides the earnings news, China cut interest rates by 50 bps in a somewhat surprising move.
In terms of economic data, PMI Manufacturing readings out of major European countries topped estimates even as they remain in contraction territory. Here in the US, mortgage applications increased 3.7% last week, and we’ll get flash PMI readings for the Manufacturing and the Services sector later this morning.
Following yesterday’s gain, the S&P 500 has risen in each of the last four trading days notching three all-time closing highs in the process. The index is now up 2% YTD, in what has been a rally driven by Technology and Communication Services which are both up over 5% YTD. Besides those two sectors, Health Care is the only other one outperforming the market. On the downside, six sectors are lower YTD, and five of them are down at least 2% on the year. It’s somewhat interesting to note that of the eleven sectors, the only two that are up or down less than 1% are Consumer Staples (+0.75%) and Industrials (-0.63%).
There’s quite a bit of disparity in sector performance among large caps, but in the small-cap space, performance is more uniform, but unfortunately, it’s to the downside. The S&P 600 is down 2.3% YTD and all but three sectors are down at least 2%, including Energy (-6.2%), Utilities (-4.2%), and Consumer Discretionary (-3.3%).
The lower chart shows the YTD performance spread between large-cap sectors and their small-cap peers. Sectors where there has been the largest disparity in favor of large caps are Communications Services and Technology. These are also the two sectors that have the largest concentration of mega-caps, and that illustrates how even within the large-cap space, performance is centered towards the companies with the largest market caps. While large caps have largely outperformed small caps YTD, there have been a couple of exceptions. As shown in the chart, in both the Real Estate and Materials sectors large caps have underperformed their smaller-cap peers.
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