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Kuby’s Commentary

Welcome to the New Bull Market

Jun 12, 2023

A New Bull

A funny thing happened on our way to the recession; a new bull market developed. It took 248 trading days for the S&P 500 to rise 20% from its bottom, marking the longest bear market since 1948, but on Thursday that threshold was reached, and the new bull market was officially christened. There wasn’t much fanfare, and for the week the S&P only inched 0.4% higher, while 2023’s superstar index the Nasdaq composite was basically unchanged. Small caps have recently found some love, as the Russell 2000 gained 1.9%, following the previous week’s handsome advance. The fixed income market was also quiet with the yield on the 10-year Treasury creeping up 5 basis points to 3.74%, and the yield on the 2-year adding 8 basis points to 4.59%. The highest yields remain in the 3–6-month maturities, which we think represents a compelling risk-free return. The dollar and crude oil were slightly lower, and gold modesty higher, while the VIX (aka the “fear index “) reached its lowest level since before the pandemic.

The economic data showed further signs of a slowdown, as the ISM’s Management’s Services PMI for May registered at 50.3 percent, 1.6 percentage points lower than April’s reading of 51.9 percent, while factory orders for April rose less than expected. The most significant data point as it relates to future Fed policy decisions was the surge in initial weekly jobless claims to their highest level since October 2021, suggesting that cracks are showing in the highly resilient labor market. As shown in the chart below, the widely respected recessionary indicator, the 10-year U.S. Treasury minus 2-year U.S. Treasury spread, has seemingly renewed its widening trajectory. This suggests that bond market participants are investing in preparation for a weak U.S. economic outlook. If such an outlook is correct, we may be quite close to the end of restrictive Fed monetary policy.

Testing 1, 2, 3

The new bull market will get its first test as there will be both important economic releases and an FOMC meeting. The inflation data on CPI and PPI on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively are both expected to show continued moderation. The Fed is expected to pause interest rate hikes in its decision on Wednesday, while The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index is forecasted to remain at a depressed, but improving, level on Friday. Stay tuned!

The information provided in this commentary is not an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase any security, product, or brokerage service. The information is not intended to be used as the basis for investment decisions, nor should the information be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of any investor. This commentary is presented to illustrate examples of the securities that North Star Investment Management Corporation and/or its affiliates (“North Star”) may have bought for client accounts and the diversity of markets in which North Star Investments may invest, and may not be representative of current or future investments. You should not assume that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this commentary will be profitable or will be equal to any corresponding performance levels that might be indicated. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments in securities involve risks including the possible loss of the principal invested. North Star and others associated with it, including employees, may have positions in and effect transactions in securities of companies mentioned or indirectly referenced in this commentary. North Star may buy, sell or hold these securities in proprietary or client accounts. North Star will not be providing regular updates or advising you of any changes in the views expressed herein. Investors should consider their investment objectives, risk tolerance, and financial situation and needs before investing in any security. Tax considerations, commissions, fees and other costs should be carefully evaluated with one’s investment and/or tax advisors. Information provided is obtained from sources deemed to be reliable, but North Star cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information. This material may not be reproduced, distributed or transmitted to any other person in whole or in part without the prior written consent of North Star. A copy of North Star Investment Management Corporation’s Form ADV Brochure, Privacy Notice and Business Continuity Plan summary can be obtained by calling 312-580-0900.

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