Well, the stock market isn’t looking too hot these days. It looks now that the bear market rally we previously enjoyed is over. Investment risk is substantial in the current market and everyone on Wall Street is just plain anxious about oil prices. This could get worse before it gets better.
So, with this reality, you have to be cautious and highly selective in your stock choices. The good news is that second-quarter earnings season is just around the corner and this should take oil prices and inflation out of the front seat in the short term.
I’ve been going on about the strength of corporate earnings for the last several years, but clearly, with a slowing economic backdrop, the corporate numbers will have to take a hit. I’m not even sure if weakening corporate earnings are even priced into the current stock market. The stock market’s trading on oil right now and, if corporate earnings begin to show a real deterioration, we could be in for substantial trouble.
I don’t expect, however, that second quarter earnings will be all that bad. Corporations, both large and small, are already running about as efficiently as they can. Larger companies are now also passing higher raw material prices on to their customers. This new pricing action will help mitigate the pressure on the bottom line. The worry in mind is top line growth and its ability to sap investor sentiment further.
So, I think that, as investors, we have to prepare ourselves for the stock market to get worse before it gets better. Where the market goes from here is nothing more than guesswork. What’s clear to me is that there are a lot of very attractive investment opportunities in the market right now. The catch is that the market just isn’t that interested at the present time.