Call it the Zombie Market, if you will, a staggering, stumbling, somnambulant thing of macabre beauty that sustains slings, arrows and shotgun blasts but still marches forward.
Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial, is more succinct and culturally aware: He calls it the “Walking Dead” market, after the wildly popular, zeitgeist-y AMC zombie series.
Instead of the perils zombies face to survive in a post-Apocalyptic world, the “walkers” of Wall Street must fend off the many macro and micro economic threats to their existence.
Negligible economic growth? No sweat. Recession in Europe? Nobody cares. China slowdown? Big deal. Near-zero revenue growth? Someone else’s problem. Federal Reserve tapering? Who needs ’em?
Kleintop bemoans the lack of Emmy nominations for “Walking Dead,” and said the stock market,—like the shows zombies—doesn’t get enough credit for defying its many detractors.
“This unkillable stock market rally seems to get no respect. US stocks have been snubbed by investors this year,” he said. “The S&P 500 has continued the strongest bull market since WWII despite all the shots fired at the market this year.”
In addition to the aforementioned zombie-slayers, he also cited the “fiscal cliff” tax increases and sequestration spending cuts in Congress; zooming oil prices, European debt woes; rising interest rates, geopolitical turmoil and low market participation.
“While it has been impossible to kill so far this year despite all the shots fired at it, this is no mindless and shambling rally,” Kleintop contended. “Stocks have deliberately moved past these events that did not stop the still-beating heart of economic growth in the United States.”
About that last point: The “beating heart” has been less a beat and more a fading tap lately.
Second-quarter gross domestic product growth likely will register below 1 percent after a disappointing 1.8 percent in the first quarter.
US investors, meanwhile, are bailing on bonds but not exactly flocking to stocks either. A record outflow from fixed-income funds in June saw that money go not to equities but rather en masse—to the tune of nearly USD 110 billion—into savings and money market funds.
But those are just two more to add to the list of demons this market has vanquished and may yet again, in Kleintop’s view.
He advised investors to stay tuned for a raft of data points likely to influence the markets ahead.
“A volatile second half in the stock market is likely, but so too are potential gains as the US economy continues to post growth of about 2 percent, resulting in opportunities to buy on the dips,” he said.