As most advisors are surely aware, the major market indices were down last week.
“The Dow Jones Industrial Index fell 4.02%. The S&P 500 Stock Index declined 4.23%, while the Nasdaq Composite finished 5.02% lower,” noted Frank Holmes, CEO and chief investment officer of U.S. Global Investors in San Antonio.
“Should investors’ expectations for an improving economy not come to fruition in a reasonable time frame, it could be a threat to stock prices,” he added. “As governments around the world begin to wind-down the monetary and fiscal stimulus programs put in place during the economic crisis, it will likely present a headwind for stocks.”
Treasuries rallied sharply last week as the flight-to-quality trade accelerated, Holmes explains. The yield on 10- and 30-year treasuries both fell by about 25 basis points this week.
Macro factors have been critical in driving the market recently, he says.
The current environment appears similar to 2008 in many ways, but there are also crucial differences. The economy is recovering and global economic growth still looks like the most likely outcome, Holmes points out.
In addition, while some fear/risk indicators are elevated they are nowhere near the panic levels seen during the past crisis, he notes.
“Until the Greek situation is resolved with some degree of certainty, the market will be at the whims of macro risk factors. Concerns of a full blown credit crisis have probably diminished some but cannot be ruled out,” said Holmes.
For the week, spot gold closed at $1,177.10 per ounce down $56.08 or 4.55%. Holdings in gold ETFs have touched record highs recently with asset levels approaching $50 billion, according to Holmes.
Gold tumbled more than $50 for the week and inflation data presented by the government that was absent of any price gains for April did not help.
Ken Gerbino highlighted certain concepts in his article “Gold and Greece: Not what you think,” suggesting that investors accumulate 5 to 10% of their assets in gold and not be too concerned about the price.
Still, Evy Hambro, manager of BlackRock Investment Management’s $14.3 billion World Mining Fund, said “resource nationalism” is an important risk miners are faced with in the near future. Countries such as Brazil, China, Mongolia and Africa are likely to follow in the footsteps of Australia and raise their nation’s mining taxes.
As for emerging markets, thanks to a strong rebound in global trade and the mainland Chinese economy, Taiwan’s GDP expanded 13.3% year-over-year in the first quarter. This better-than-expected pace is the fastest in more than 30 years.
During the same quarter, mainland Chinese visitors to Taiwan outnumbered Japanese for the first time due to relaxed travel rules.
Indonesia, one of the best performing markets over the past 12 months, was one of the worst performers in emerging Asia this past week, as foreign investors were active in taking profits.