Dear Copiers and Followers,
In this post, I want to share some important insights and trends in the world of markets and investing that caught my attention this week.
Firstly, every bull and bear market is unique. While comparisons were made to previous bear markets like those in 2000-2002 and 2007-2009, the recent trajectory has been different. The $SPY rallied by 27% since October, nearing its previous high, leading to the label of a “new bull market.” The low volatility, indicated by the Volatility Index $VIX.FUT closing below 13, supports this notion. However, market labels can only be identified in hindsight, as investing is forward-looking and unpredictable.
Turning to the housing market, there is a persistent shortage of homes in the US. In May, the number of homes for sale reached a record low of 1.37 million. This scarcity resulted in a decline in activity, with US Existing Home Sales falling by 20% over the past year. While prices experienced a slow decline of 3%, affordability remains a challenge. Rapid home price appreciation and doubled mortgage rates require the median American household to allocate over 40% of their income to afford the median-priced home. Affordability can only improve through changes such as price reductions, lower mortgage rates, or increased incomes.
On a positive note, homebuilders are responding to the need for increased supply. The US Housing Market Index has risen for six consecutive months, surpassing 50 for the first time since last July. This growing confidence is likely to lead to more construction activity. US Housing Starts jumped by 21% in May, the largest month-over-month increase since 2016, showing positive year-over-year growth for the first time in over a year. The all-time high of the US Home Construction ETF suggests a continued upward trend in housing starts.
While the housing market shows promise, downtown areas in major cities face challenges. Public transit usage, cell-phone activity, and office occupancy rates remain significantly lower compared to pre-pandemic levels. This has resulted in a decline in Downtown Office REITs and regional banks with office market exposure.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s remarks on inflation and potential rate hikes are noteworthy. Powell acknowledges high inflation pressures and the long journey ahead to reach the target rate of 2%. While the market expects a rate hike in July, decreasing real-time inflation metrics provide the Federal Reserve flexibility to pause if necessary.
Globally, monetary policy divergence is evident. Some central banks, such as those in Switzerland, Norway, and the UK, have tightened rates, while China has cut rates for the fourth time since December 2021 due to a stalling economic recovery.
In addition, the declining purchasing power of the US consumer dollar over the past 30 years is concerning. On a positive note, solar panel prices have significantly dropped, making renewable energy more accessible. However, US car insurance rates have been increasing faster than the overall inflation rate, straining consumers’ budgets. China’s remarkable growth in global manufactured exports is worth monitoring.
To wrap up, two important updates: a decline in $BTC optimism with a significant reduction in bullish positions, and Israel facing a fourth wave of Covid-19, resulting in the reintroduction of outdoor mask mandates. I hope this summary provides valuable insights into the markets and investing landscape. Feel free to reach out if you have further questions or specific areas you’d like to explore!