The market is boxed in due to the problems with global growth and the Federal Reserve.
Monday’s decline in tech stocks cannot be blamed exclusively on Apple. Lumentum, one of Apple’s facial recognition suppliers, reduced its outlook for the quarter, citing a reduced shipment request from one of its biggest customers, which everyone assumes is Apple.
But the fact that all the FANG names were down 2 percent to 3 percent, and the industrial and energy sectors were down 1.5 percent each, points to a bigger problem. Domestic growth seems strong, but the global growth picture in Europe and China is generally weaker. That’s one reason all the high valuation stocks (FANG) are getting taken down.
The tariff issue greatly complicates the global growth picture.
Another problem is the strong U.S. dollar, which is a result of a variety of factors, including the Fed raising rates, Britain’s plan to exit the European Union, a weak euro, Italy’s weak economy and a weaker China.
The dollar is hurting commodities, with double digit declines this year in copper, aluminum, zinc, and lumber.
Oil: down 2.6 percent
Zinc: down 23 percent
Copper: down 19 percent
Aluminum: down 13 percent
Lumber: down 20 percent
Gold: down 8 percent
The recent decline in the price of oil is being blamed on oversupply issues, but it’s likely that concerns about a slowdown in demand is also a factor.
Unfortunately, the Fed is boxed in as well. The market is implying it wants the Fed to get less aggressive on rates, but with the current economic news, it cannot do that, and won’t be able to until December at the earliest. Even that is a tough call.
The two issues the market cannot answer right now are 1). Where is global growth? and 2). What is the Fed rate tightening picture going to be in 2019?
There’s one additional problem: the age of the bull market. People have made a lot of money this decade, but the rally is nine years old. “It’s not lost on any long-term investor that up until last week you could have locked in 95% of the rally’s gains,” Alec Young, Managing Director, Global Markets Research for FTSE Russell, told CNBC.
As time goes on, Young added, if traders convince themselves into believing that a market top is occurring, that puts additional pressure on stocks.