U.S. Economic Growth Is Peaking And That Means Stocks Could Struggle This Year, Goldman Warns

As the economic benefits of massive fiscal stimulus and businesses reopening reach their peak in the coming weeks, Goldman Sachs analysts are warning that U.S. economic growth will slow, leading to “paltry” stock returns over the next year and an end to the market’s massive pandemic rally.

U.S. economic growth will peak within the next two months, Goldman analysts said in a Thursday morning note, forecasting that gross domestic product will grow by an annualized 10.5% rate in the second quarter, the strongest expansion since 1978 aside from the economy’s stark mid-pandemic rebound in the third quarter of last year.

Economic growth will then “slow modestly” in the third quarter and continue to decelerate over the next several quarters, the analysts predicted, adding that such deceleration is typically associated with weaker stock returns and higher market volatility.

In a sign that fiscal stimulus effects and economic activity are peaking, the ISM Manufacturing index, a monthly economic indicator measuring industrial activity, registered at 65 in March—above the threshold of 60 that Goldman says typically represents peak economic growth.

Coming off the worst quarter in history, the U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace ever in the third quarter as a nation battered by an unprecedented pandemic put itself back together. Michelle Girard, chief U.S. economist at NatWest Markets, Stephanie Kelton, professor of economics and public policy at Stony Brook University, and Michael Strain, director of economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, join “Squawk Box” to discuss. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO: https://cnb.cx/2NGeIvi » Subscribe to CNBC TV: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCtelevision » Subscribe to CNBC: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBC » Subscribe to CNBC Classic: https://cnb.cx/SubscribeCNBCclassic
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According to Goldman, the S&P 500 has historically fallen an average of 1% in the month after the ISM Manufacturing index registers more than 60, and in the subsequent 12 months, it’s gained a “paltry” 3%—significantly less than the 14% annualized return over the last 10 years.

Goldman expects the S&P will end the year at 4,300 points—implying just a 4% increase from Thursday’s close, lower than some other market forecasters who expect the index could soar to as high as 5,000 points by year’s end.

Crucial Quote

“Equities often struggle in the short term when a strong rate of economic growth begins to slow,” a group of Goldman strategists led by Ben Snider said Thursday, noting that during the last 40 years. “It is not a coincidence that ISM readings have rarely exceeded 60 during the last few decades; investors buying U.S equities at those times were buying stocks at around the same time as strong economic growth was peaking—and starting to decelerate.”

Surprising Fact

The most recent ISM reading is the highest since a level of 70 in December 1983—after which the S&P inched up just 0.2% in the following 12 months.

Key Background

Trillions of dollars in unprecedented fiscal stimulus during the pandemic have helped lift the stock market to new highs over the past year, and though President Joe Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan could add even more fuel to the economy, Anu Gaggar, a senior investment analyst for Commonwealth Financial Network, said Thursday that “investors have been quick to recognize [that] much of the upside has already been priced.”

That’s evidenced by the growing divergence in performance between the broader market and growth stocks this year, Gaggar says, echoing the sentiment from Goldman analysts Thursday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq, which far outperformed the broader market by surging 44% last year, has climbed about 9% this year, underperforming the S&P and Dow Jones Industrial Average, which are up roughly 12% each.

Further Reading

S&P 500 Passes 4,000—And These Market Experts Think It Can Keep Climbing Higher. Here’s Why. (Forbes)

Dow Jumps 200 Points: Stocks Fend Off Third Day Of Losses Despite Biotechs, Netflix Falling (Forbes)

I’m a reporter at Forbes focusing on markets and finance. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I double-majored in business journalism and economics while working for UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School as a marketing and communications assistant. Before Forbes, I spent a summer reporting on the L.A. private sector for Los Angeles Business Journal and wrote about publicly traded North Carolina companies for NC Business News Wire. Reach out at jponciano@forbes.com.

Source: U.S. Economic Growth Is Peaking And That Means Stocks Could Struggle This Year, Goldman Warns

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Key quotes

“Economists predict 10.5% GDP growth for the second quarter, the strongest quarterly growth rate since 1978.”

“Growth in the third and fourth quarters of this year will clock in at 7.5% and 6.5%, respectively. Growth is then seen slowing in each quarter of 2022 — by the fourth quarter Goldman is modeling a mere 1.5% GDP increase.”

“Although our economists expect U.S. GDP growth will remain both above trend and above consensus forecasts through the next few quarters, they believe the pace of growth will peak within the next 1-2 months as the tailwinds from fiscal stimulus and economic reopening reach their maximum impact and then begin to fade.”

FX implications

The US dollar index drops 0.10% to trade at 91.25, as of writing. The dollar gauge resumes its downside momentum after facing rejection just below 91.50 in the US last session.

Latest Forex News

Gold Continues To Face Off With Treasury Yields

Gold Continues To Face Off With Treasury Yields

Many factors affect the gold price, but Treasury yields have been the one factor that’s been weighing more heavily than the others of late. Last week, the Federal Open Market Committee doubled down on its dovish stance, boosting gold prices as a result.

Q4 2020 hedge fund letters, conferences and more

The FOMC said it would allow inflation to run above its 2% target for an extended period, which weighed on the U.S. dollar. The dollar is generally negatively correlated with gold prices, so at first, the news was good for the yellow metal. However, Treasury yields have continued to rise in the days since the FOMC meeting last week, bringing the gold price back down again.

Treasury yields off and running

On Wednesday, Edward Moya of OANDA said gold prices continued to stabilize as emerging geopolitical risks triggered some safe-haven flows. Selling by gold exchange-traded funds continued for the 27th straight day, but Moya added that the selling pressure is starting to ease.

“Gold seems like it’s stuck doing the tango with Treasury yields,” Moya explained. “The preliminary Markit PMIs showed prices rose to the highest level since the series began, which helped push the 10-year Treasury yield higher and gold prices lower.”

The gold price continued to consolidate on Wednesday, demonstrating that investors didn’t expect much from the second day of testimony by Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Instead, they are focusing on the next round of Treasury auctions.

“Foreign demand is expected to remain strong, but if demand is surprisingly weak, the bond market selloff could intensify quickly,” Moya added.

Why gold and Treasury yields are negatively correlated

Gold and Treasuries are both considered safe-haven assets, so some correlation between them is clear. However, the gold price is correlated with bond prices, while bond prices are negatively correlated to yields. The lower the price on the bond, the higher the yield, and vice versa.

The reason for the negative correlation between gold and yields is because by holding gold, investors lose investing opportunities. Gold doesn’t bear any yield, so when bond yields go up, the gold price goes down because capital flows out of the yellow metal and into bonds.

In other words, investors receive a return on their bonds when the yield goes up, but they receive no such return on gold. Thus, although both are safe-haven assets, they perform different functions in a portfolio. When yields fall, gold becomes more attractive because there is no benefit to holding bonds.

Gold price ignores other economic data

Usually, the gold price reacts to economic data, but it has been shrugging off these numbers while Treasury yields have shifted higher and higher. For example, the Commerce Department said durable goods orders in the U.S. declined 1.1% last month, marking the first decline since April 2020. That suggests the months-long manufacturing rebound has paused. Usually, declining economic data would give the gold price a boost, but that didn’t happen on Wednesday.

Continued talk about inflation and the Fed’s statement that it will allow inflation to run above 2% for a while would normally be good for gold as well. Usually, such talk would be bad for bonds as well because it means that the yield investors earn on them will be worth less and less as time goes on. After all, it means the value of the dollar is reduced.

However, higher yields have remained the big story for gold. Bond yields typically go up when interest rates increase, which is exactly what has happened recently despite the Fed’s decision to hold the federal funds rate close to zero for the next few years. Mortgage rates and other interest rates have been climbing as banks tighten up their lending.

A contrarian case for gold

As higher Treasury yields drive the gold price lower, the story for gold has switched around. The once-bullish story has turned bearish due to the economic recovery and rising yields. As a result, the contrarian case is now a bullish one, as it seems nothing can stem the tide of falling gold prices.

However, not everyone is convinced that gold will continue to fall. There’s no guarantee that the economic recovery will occur as quickly as most investors are expecting. Economic data points have been mixed for some time, so it doesn’t look like the recovery is V-shaped as most were hoping.

Instead, the recovery has been K-shaped, with certain industries recovering while others stagnate. For example, e-commerce is booming, but hospitality and airlines are struggling. Meanwhile, unemployment numbers remain high, which would also usually be good for gold.

Gold technicals have improved, but it doesn’t matter

Saxo Bank Head of Commodity Strategy Ole Hansen said in a recent note that even though the technical outlook for gold has improved, it “remains unloved by investors.” Total holdings in gold ETFs slumped to a nine-month low at 3,148 tons, marking a 9% decline from the peak last year. Hedge funds have also cut their net long in COMEX gold futures close to its lowest level in two years at 42,000 lots, an 85% decline from the February 2020 peak.

Hansen added earlier this week that buyers returned to gold for the first time since January, and hedge funds’ net long position jumped 30% to 54,700 lots in a combination of new longs and short covering. However, the yellow metal couldn’t hang on as it continues to take a beating from yields.

By:

Source: Gold Continues To Face Off With Treasury Yields

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Up 50%, Goldman Sachs Stock Can Still Grow

After a 56% rally off the March bottom, Goldman Sachs’ stock (NYSE: GS) seems to still have some room to grow based on its historic P/E multiples. Goldman Sachs, a leading U.S investment bank with a global presence, has seen its stock rally from $135 to $211 off the recent bottom compared to the S&P which moved a similar 55%.

The bank’s stock is closely following the broader markets as investors are positive about the strength of its Sales & Trading and investment banking operations. Notably, its Q2 2020 results saw a 41% y-o-y increase in revenues which was way ahead of market expectations, mainly driven by growth in trading and the investment banking business. Despite this, its stock is still 8% below the levels seen in late 2019.

Goldman Sachs’ stock has partially reached the level it was at before the drop in February due to the coronavirus outbreak becoming a pandemic. After the healthy rise since the March 23 lows, we feel that the company’s stock still has some potential as its revenues have benefited during the lockdown and its valuation implies it has further to go.

Some of this rise of the last 3 years is justified by the roughly 19% growth seen in Goldman Sachs’s revenues over 2016 to 2019, which translated into an 11% increase in Net Income. The net income was unable to capitalize on the rise in revenues due to higher non-interest expenses – especially due to a jump in compensation cost, which weighed on the net income margin reducing it from 23.2% in 2016 to 21.65% in 2019. While the net income did suffer, the earnings figure increased by 28% over the same period, thanks to the bank’s regular investments in share repurchases. Recommended For You

While the company has seen steady revenue and earnings growth over recent years, its P/E multiple has actually decreased. We believe the stock is likely to see some upside despite the recent rally and the potential weakness from a recession-driven by the Covid outbreak. Our dashboard Why Goldman Sachs Stock was stagnant between 2016 and 2019 has the underlying numbers.

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PROMOTED

Goldman Sachs’s P/E multiple changed from close to 14x in 2016 to around 11x in 2019. While the company’s P/E is down to about 10x now, there is some upside potential when the current P/E is compared to levels seen in the past years – P/E of 11x at the end of 2019 and 14x as recent as late 2016.

So what’s the likely trigger and timing for further upside?

Goldman Sachs has a loan portfolio of around $89 billion (as per 2019 data), which could lead to substantial losses if consumer activity levels fall and the economic condition further worsens, leading to a rise in loan default rates. Not to forget, it would make it expensive for the bank to secure funding, impacting its overall operations. Similarly, its asset management business is likely to suffer due to economic slowdown which was also evident from the Q2 2020 results – segment revenues down by 18% y-o-y.

However, there is a silver lining, both the investment banking and sales & trading businesses have seen significant growth over the first half of 2020. Fortunately for Goldman, it has a noteworthy presence in both segments, driving around 19% and 40% of the total revenues, respectively, (as per 2019 data). Given the level of volatility in equity & debt markets, the bank is well-positioned to report growth in its securities trading arm, coupled with higher investment banking revenues driven by growth in debt origination space. This, in turn, would offset the negative growth in other segments and benefit the revenue trajectory over the coming months. While Goldman Sachs’ results for Q2 saw unprecedented growth, we believe that Q3 results will also be positive.

Further, over the coming weeks, we expect continued improvement in demand and subdued growth in the number of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. to buoy market expectations. Following the Fed stimulus — which helped to set a floor on fear — the market has been willing to “look through” the current weak period and take a longer-term view, with investors now mainly focusing their attention on 2021 results. Though market sentiment can be fickle, and evidence of a sustained uptick in new cases could spook investors once again.

What if you’re looking for a more balanced portfolio instead? Here’s a top-quality portfolio to outperform the market, with over 100% return since 2016, versus 55% for the S&P 500, Comprised of companies with strong revenue growth, healthy profits, lots of cash, and low risk. It has outperformed the broader market year after year, consistently.

See all Trefis Price Estimates and Download Trefis Data here

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Trefis Team

Trefis Team

Led by MIT engineers and Wall Street analysts, Trefis (through its dashboards platform dashboards.trefis.com) helps you understand how a company’s products, that you touch, read, or hear about everyday, impact its stock price. Surprisingly, the founders of Trefis discovered that along with most other people they just did not understand even the seemingly familiar companies around them: Apple, Google, Coca Cola, Walmart, GE, Ford, Gap, and others.

This might include you though you may have invested money in these companies, or may have been working with one of them for years as an employee, or have consulted with them as an expert for a long time. You can play with assumptions, or try scenarios, as-well-as ask questions to other users and experts. The platform uses extensive data to show in a single snapshot what drives the value of a company’s business. Trefis is currently used by hundreds of thousands of investors, company employees, and business professionals.

Goldman Sachs recently released their “Rule of 10” stock list. These growth stocks have shown sales increases of more than 10 percent each of the last two years, and are projected to grow sales over ten percent annually over the next two years. Stock lists like there can help investors build prospects for the next generation of FAANG stocks. 👍 GET MY FREE STOCK ANALYSIS GUIDE: “15 Minute Stock Analysis” https://40finance.com/free-report15/ This video reviews several Rule of 10 stocks in detail, including their PE ratio, earnings per share, and analyst price projections for the next year.. The following stocks are mentioned in this video: Align Technology, Inc. (ALGN) Adobe Inc. (ADBE) Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (VRTX) ServiceNow, Inc. (NOW) PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL) The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Are you interested in any of Goldman Sachs “Rule of 10” stocks? Let me know in the comments! Other 40 Finance videos you may like: Snowflake IPO Breakdown https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SZ09… 5 Value Stocks with Upside https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZ1Tb…

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