December 15th, 2015

Growth stocks wobbles

Mid-week market update: One of the defining characteristics of the current bull run is the dominance of US large cap growth stocks. Joe Wiesenthal wrote about the problem of the effect of the "superstar companies" on the economy in a Twitter thread and in a Bloomberg commentary. The "superstar companies" have few employees, and therefore high labor productivity.


But if labor productivity is all that matters, and you don't need any workers, where is the demand going to come from?
If you think that the key thing is demand, and that demand drives investment, driving productivity, then it's not about declaring some tech companies winners and declaring everyone else as zombies that should die, it's about fostering income equality to drive spending.

Something nobody ever seems to point out is how it's interesting that productivity growth is historically quite low, even though we have an economy that's dominated by some of the most productive companies in human history. Maybe more ultra-productive companies aren't the answer?
While Big Tech and large cap growth are still red hot, more cracks are showing up in the growth stock armor. The chart below shows an unexpected divergence in relative performance between large cap and small cap growth (top panel). If we were to benchmark US large and small cap stocks against global stocks, as measured by the MSCI All-Country World Index (ACWI), we can see that large cap growth remains in a relative uptrend against ACWI (middle panel), but the relative performance of small caps and small cap growth have flattened in the past few months.


While these are not immediate bearish signals, they represent "under the hood" warnings of pending trouble in US equities.

The full post can be found here.

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