Stock Market Sell-off is Caused by Rising Interest Rates; Cyclicals, Financials and Industrials Remain the Strongest Sectors; Treasury Bond Funds Underperform

In January the stock market became dangerously overbought following the tax reform rally, and as we anticipated, a sell-off occurred:

spy

Chart 1.

The sell-off was triggered by rising interest rates, fears of rising inflation, and the potential of a more aggressive monetary policy by the Federal Reserve.

A worrisome sign for the stock market is that shorter-term interest rates are rising faster than long-term rates, which could lead to yield curve inversion, a condition where short-term rates are higher than long-term interest rates. The bottom panel of Chart 2. shows the ratio of the 10-year vs. 30-year yield indexes. The ratio line is steadily rising since last July, as denoted by the blue arrow:

tnx

Chart 2.

Rising interest rates negatively impacted funds that invest in this space:

flbix.png

Chart 3.

The stock market sell-off is uneven with some sectors falling faster than others. Currently, the spread of the total return between the best and the worst sectors over the last three months is 25%. Should the market continue to drop, we think that this spread will continue to widen. Conversely, if we see a relief rally by mid next week, the spread will probably become more narrow.

Sector_Rotation.jpg

Chart 4.

The industry groups with the strongest relative strength vs. the S&P 500 index are the cyclicals (consumer discretionary), financials and industrials. We’d like to highlight financial services and defense stocks (part of the industrials group) as two sectors that can potentially lead the market once the market correction ends.

fscpx.png

Chart 5.

fidsx.png

Chart 6.

fsdax.png

Chart 7.

We continue to like the technology sector, as well, because of its lesser dependence on changes in interest rates and because of the proliferation of disruptive technologies from robotics to intelligent software:

fsptx.png

Chart 8.

 

View fund ratings at FidelitySectorReport.com for more information.

Powered_by_axiomix_180x30

.

.

.

Advertisements

Sector Rotation: Technology Sector Outperforms in 2015; Avoid the Utilities and Natural Resources Sectors

Summary:

  • The technology sector, led by Apple, semiconductor and large cap Internet companies, has become one of the leading equity sectors in 2015
  • Rising interest rates resulted in a trend reversal for the utility sector
  • The strengthening dollar and declining energy prices cause the natural resources sector to resume its decline

The Nasdaq index (where many of the market-leading technology companies are listed) closed above the historically important 5,000 level yesterday. This level has not been seen since the dot com bubble of 2000. This time around, we think that the bull market in the technology sector is sustainable and stock prices will go higher from here.

One of the best ways to participate in this trend for Fidelity mutual fund investors is by building a position in the Select Technology fund (FSPTX). The top portion of the chart below shows that the relative strength of FSPTX compared to the S&P 500 has turned positive in 2015, which is a very bullish sign:

fsptx

Steadily rising long-term Treasury rates caused a sharp sell off in the interest rate sensitive utilities sector. The chart of the Fidelity Select Utilities Fund (FSUTX) shows that the sector is not participating in the stock market rally and has broken its long-term uptrend:

fsutx

In a previous article we warned that it is too early to invest in the natural resources sector. In spite of the rally in January, this sector continues to be in a downtrend and we think that there are many better investment opportunities in this market.

fnarx

Read more about investment strategies involving these funds at FidelitySignal.com

.