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Investment Takeaways

Market pundits may have to revisit the popular “Sell in May” adage as stocks rose for the seventh May in the past eight years. The disconnect between the strong stock market rally in the S&P 500 Index from March lows and the economic impact of the COVID-19 response remains. Rising US-China tensions and civil unrest have added to the wall of worry.

  • Our equities recommendation remains overweight. Although we believe markets may be pricing in an overly optimistic economic recovery scenario and a pullback may be overdue, the progress toward re-opening the US and global economies is encouraging, while massive fiscal and monetary stimulus and low interest rates improve the attractiveness of stocks relative to bonds.
  • Our expectation for a pullback in stocks in the near term is bolstered by the S&P 500 Index having achieved our 2020 year-end fair-value target of 3,150–3,200. That target is based on a price-to-earnings multiple (PE) of 19 on $165 in normalized index earnings per share (EPS), which we believe is reasonable, even though the timing around achieving that level of earnings is very uncertain.*
  • We favor large cap stocks for their greater potential resilience during recessions and recommend balanced exposure between the growth and value styles in equity allocations where suitable, though in the short term, we maintain a slight growth bias.
  • China has led the way out of the global crisis and supported emerging market equities, which we find attractively valued relative to developed markets.
  • Our fixed income view remains underweight. While Federal Reserve (Fed) policy and current economic uncertainty may limit the risk of yields moving substantially higher, a likely second-half economic recovery may continue to support riskier assets going out a full year.
  • We favor a blend of high-quality intermediate bonds with a modest underweight to US Treasuries and an emphasis on short-to-intermediate maturities with sector weightings tilted toward mortgage-backed securities (MBS).
  • We have made no changes to our asset allocation views this month, though we did raise our S&P 500 bear case fair-value forecast from 2,400 to 2,650.**

Key changes from May’s report: No changes this month.

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IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended as specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors and they do not take into account the particular needs, investment objectives, tax and financial condition of any specific person. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, please consult your financial professional prior to investing. Any economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted and are subject to change.

Stock investing involves risk including loss of principal. Because of their narrow focus, sector investing will be subject to greater volatility than investing more broadly across many sectors and companies. Value investments can perform differently from the market as a whole and can remain undervalued by the market for long periods of time. The prices of small and mid-cap stocks are generally more volatile than large cap stocks. Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity.

Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Corporate bonds are considered higher risk than government bonds. Municipal bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Municipal bonds are federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. If sold prior to maturity, capital gains tax could apply. U.S. Treasuries may be considered “safe haven” investments but do carry some degree of risk including interest rate, credit, and market risk. Bond yields are subject to change. Certain call or special redemption features may exist which could impact yield. Mortgage backed securities are subject to credit, default, prepayment, extension, market and interest rate risk.

Credit Quality is one of the principal criteria for judging the investment quality of a bond or bond mutual fund. Credit ratings are published rankings based on detailed financial analyses by a credit bureau specifically as it relates the bond issue’s ability to meet debt obligations. The highest rating is AAA, and the lowest is D. Securities with credit ratings of BBB and above are considered investment grade. Duration is a measure of the sensitivity of the price (the value of principal) of a fixed-income investment to a change in interest rates. It is expressed as a number of years.

Alternative investments may not be suitable for all investors and should be considered as an investment for the risk capital portion of the investor’s portfolio. The strategies employed in the management of alternative investments may accelerate the velocity of potential losses.

Commodity-linked investments may be more volatile and less liquid than the underlying instruments or measures, and their value may be affected by the performance of the overall commodities baskets as well as weather, geopolitical events, and regulatory developments. The fast price swings in commodities and currencies will result in significant volatility in an investor’s holdings.

Investing in foreign and emerging markets securities involves special additional risks. These risks include, but are not limited to, currency risk, geopolitical risk, and risk associated with varying accounting standards. Investing in emerging markets may accentuate these risks. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

Earnings per share (EPS) is the portion of a company’s profit allocated to each outstanding share of common stock. EPS serves as an indicator of a company’s profitability. Earnings per share is generally considered to be the single most important variable in determining a share’s price. It is also a major component used to calculate the price-to-earnings valuation ratio.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis. It includes all of private and public consumption, government outlays, investments and exports less imports that occur within a defined territory.

All index data from FactSet.

For a list of descriptions of the indexes referenced in this publication, please visit our website at lplresearch.com/definitions.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial (LPL), a registered investment advisor and broker-dealer (member FINRA/SIPC). Insurance products are offered through LPL or its licensed affiliates. To the extent you are receiving investment advice from a separately registered independent investment advisor that is not an LPL affiliate, please note LPL makes no representation with respect to such entity.

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