​Can Just a Few Dogs Keep Pulling the Stock Market Sled?

MoneyShow  |


The entire dog team has to learn how to work and pull together, or they have virtually no chance of success. Unfortunately, we aren’t seeing that in today’s stock market. Only a handful of “dogs” are doing all the work, writes Mike Larson.

Two summers ago, I had the amazing opportunity to present on the 2016 Money, Metals & Mining Cruise. Just like the land-based conventions I’ve attended in the past (and the upcoming San Francisco Money Show, which you can register for here), the Anchorage-to-Vancouver cruise gave me a great chance to share my insights and talk shop with investors like you face-to-face.

But it wasn’t all work and no play. My wife and I also had some time to experience the wild and beautiful Alaska scenery via a handful of shore excursions. That included one visit to a sled dog training facility outside the capital city of Juneau.

Dogs are raised and trained there in the offseason using wheeled sleds. Many of them will ultimately compete in events like the world-famous Iditarod. The facility’s staff did a great job explaining all that goes into preparing for that grueling race, which covers approximately 1,000 miles depending on the year and exact route.

One important lesson: The entire team of dogs has to learn how to work and pull together, or they have virtually no chance of success.

Unfortunately, we aren’t seeing that in today’s stock market. Only a handful of “dogs” are doing all the work!

I’m sure you know the acronym “FAANG,” right? It refers to the overhyped, over-owned and largely overvalued stocks you hear about on financial television all day, every day. Facebook  (FB) is the “F” stock, followed by Apple  (AAPL), Amazon.com  (AMZN), Netflix  (NFLX), and Google parent company Alphabet  (GOOGL).

What you may NOT know is they’re pretty much the only game in town performance-wise!

The S&P 500 Index (SPX) rose about 2.7% in the first half of 2018. But the five FAANG names accounted for ALL of that rise and then some. That’s according to Standard & Poor’s and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Specifically, the FAANGs contributed a 3.4% GAIN to the broader-market S&P 500 -- while the entire rest of the index contributed a 0.7% LOSS.

Using a slightly different methodology and time frame, CNBC recently concluded that just THREE technology stocks – AMZN, NFLX and Microsoft  (MSFT) – generated 71% of the year-to-date returns in the S&P 500. Seven out of 11 market sectors actually LOST money in the first half of the year, with industrials (-5.6%), staples (-9.9%) and telecom (-10.8%) the biggest laggards.

No less than Larry Fink, the CEO of investment firm BlackRock  (BLK), just said: “If you strip out a handful of outperforming tech stocks, the lack of breadth in the equity markets is troubling.”

His firm is the world’s largest money manager, with $6.3 trillion in assets under management. When he makes a statement like that, investors would be wise to listen.

My take? A market that can’t broaden out is a market you can’t trust. While tech stocks and small caps have managed to make marginal new highs, everything from financials to transports to emerging market shares have not.

Moreover, when you have just a handful of stocks from the same exact sector dominating gains, “concentration risk” skyrockets. That means anything -- from a slowdown in online advertising or subscription growth, to a significant government antitrust or data privacy push -- could hurt not just one of these market leaders, but almost all of them … in one fell swoop!

We just saw NFLX stumble on Tuesday, for instance, after it whiffed badly on subscription additions. Then on Wednesday, GOOGL took an early spill after the European Union’s antitrust regulator slapped a $5 billion fine on the search and mobile device company for abusing its market position. That was the largest fine the EU has EVER levied on ANY company!

Throw in the fact the IPO market is totally out of control, the yield curve is flattening relentlessly and the Federal Reserve is continuing to raise interest rates and shrink its balance sheet, and you can see why I’m so darn cautious.

My recommendations: Keep favoring defensive sectors like utilities, consumer staples and select REITs ... maintain a much higher allocation to cash ... and use tools like inverse ETFs to hedge or target downside profits in select sectors when appropriate.

Until next time,

Mike Larson

Join me at the MoneyShow San Francisco August 23-25. You can see my speaking schedule, and get registered for free, by clicking here!

Check out Mike’s short video interview, Conservative Stock Picks for 2018 at MoneyShow Las Vegas here.

Follow Mike @RealMikeLarson on Twitter and subscribe to Weiss Ratings products here.

This article was originally published by MoneyShow.com: Founded in 1981, MoneyShow is a privately held financial media company headquartered in Sarasota, Florida. As a global network of investing and trading education, MoneyShow presents an extensive agenda of live and online events that attract over 75,000 investors, traders and financial advisors around the world.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
FB Facebook Inc. 172.50 -1.30 -0.75 21,518,006 Trade
GOOGL Alphabet Inc. 1,221.95 6.10 0.50 1,111,173 Trade
AAPL Apple Inc. 215.46 -2.12 -0.97 30,287,695 Trade
AMZN Amazon.com Inc. 1,876.71 -5.51 -0.29 2,862,016 Trade
BLK BlackRock Inc. 475.56 1.41 0.30 465,488 Trade
NFLX Netflix Inc. 327.73 10.95 3.46 13,591,100 Trade
MSFT Microsoft Corporation 106.87 -0.71 -0.66 17,914,201 Trade

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