I spent a bit more time yesterday talking to clients than usual–a situation common to many advisors in this crazy environment. So far, the Dow has gone from down 300 points to about 130. It’s likely that these intraday gyrations are more psychological than based on real fundamentals.
We are certainly facing some economic headwinds. We believe that fears of a slowdown put commodities at risk of a drawdown, especially the energy sector. Precious metals may also see some additional selling, but lower rates would augur for flat to higher gold prices.
I’ve spoken before about the need to shore up the balance sheet of the middle class now that the banks are in better shape. But with the government simply out of options both fiscally and monetarily, perhaps the best strategy to take is to “follow the money.”
Those looking for cash in this economy should take a gander at the assets of the large corporations. Companies in the S&P 500 hold an aggregate $1.25 trillion–which make up a staggering 15% of the market cap for that index. With dividend payout ratios near record lows, it is obvious that they are hesitant to deploy this asset until there is more economic visibility.
If Congress gave the private sector a tax break to employ more workers and to increase manufacturing in the United States, perhaps that would end the deadlock. In return, perhaps giving Mr. Obama the permission to raise a very modest tax increase for those earning over $500,000 per year would give credit to both the Democrats and Republicans.
A significant amount of economic data has been released in the past week, and it has become evident that the current environment is not experiencing the type of economic growth that is self-sustaining. Perhaps a plan like this one could get us back on track.