Ahead of the Street
Long-time readers know of my affinity for following a number of large-cap, benchmark stocks for the purposes of honing my own stock market view. Every quarter, I always write the same thing—that earnings season is the absolute best time to be researching the stock market and new investment opportunities.
All kinds of companies are reporting good news now, but it may not be enough for the stock market to keep appreciating. A new earnings season is just beginning, but these seasons come and go awfully fast. What this stock market needs is a new catalyst. Without one, I think the main averages will drift lower.
With the exception of mining stocks that move commensurately with the underlying spot prices of precious metals, the trading action in a lot of growth companies has been robust. Even recent initial public offerings (IPOs), which usually come to market expensively priced, are doing well in an environment where investors have no other choice but to be buyers of stocks.
Most of the news out there is getting better, but the stock market’s been taking a bit of a rest and that’s good. We’ve also seen a real pullback in commodity prices and this is well deserved. I don’t like it when markets go up indefinitely without corrections. It’s not healthy and bubbles almost always end badly.
A lot of initial public offerings (IPOs) have hit the market recently, and that’s no surprise—the stock market’s been strong. Times have been tough in the investment banking industry, but this changed recently with the much improved sentiment in the broader market. We can never forget that everything in the investment business is about perception.
The current momentum in stocks is well deserved. There’s no other place for large investors to invest their money and expect to get a return on investment greater than the rate of inflation. There’s also earnings momentum and that’s going to carry share prices further, at least over the very near term.
I actually think that large-cap companies will be the big story going into 2011, at least for the first half. While smaller companies traditionally do well coming out of recession, this time around, the big companies have the cost structure and pricing power to accelerate earnings at a rate much greater than revenue growth. This is good for the stock market and the economy—in the short term.