technology

Market Recap – Some Lessons Learned from 1999

March 10, 2017 in Market Commentary by

Market Digest – Week Ending 2/24/2017
The market rally paused for a breath, with global stocks roughly flat for the week. A strong jobs report Friday provided confidence and firmed expectations that the Fed will raise rates in March, but without having to accelerate tightening. Official unemployment edged down to 4.7%. Oil moved sharply lower on the week as U.S. shale producers continue to invest in new capacity.

Weekly Returns:
S&P 500: 2,373 (-0.4%)
FTSE All-World ex-US: (-0.1%)
US 10 Year Treasury Yield: 2.57% (+0.09%)
Gold: $1,205 (-2.4%)
USD/EUR: $1.067 (+0.5%)

Major Events:

  • Monday – The Trump administration issued a revised travel ban, reducing to six the number of impacted countries and exempted lawful permanent residents.
  • Wednesday – The CIA scrambled to contain damage from a WikiLeaks release which described the agency’s cyber-spying capabilities.
  • Thursday – WTI oil prices dropped below $50 after an EIA report showed a spike in inventories.
  • Friday – Bitcoin prices dropped 18% after the SEC rejected a proposal by the Winklevoss twins to establish a publicly traded fund for the vehicle.
  • Friday – South Korean President Park Guen-hye, the country’s first female president, was ejected over accusations that she helped friends win bribes from conglomerates.

Our take:
Today, March 10, marks the 17th anniversary of the peak of the NASDAQ and the height of the dot-com bubble. Over the next few years, technology stocks would plummet 80%, decimating investor portfolios and reshaping the way many viewed investing.

There are some interesting parallels between 2017 and 1999. Technology stocks and the tech-heavy NASDAQ are again leading gains. The QQQs, made famous in the late-90s are outperforming the Vanguard Value Index by over 6% year to date. Stocks like Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Celgene and Google have been the drivers of this bull market. The Shiller PE ratio on the S&P 500, which uses a 10 year average of earnings, surpassed 30 this week for the first time since the late 1990s.

All of this is no reason to panic. Stock prices are not nearly as out of touch with reality as they were in 1999. But it is worth revisiting the lessons learned from that period. Those whose investment portfolios were hurt irreparably were either loaded up excessively on technology stocks or sold near the bottom and didn’t get in until well after stocks had rebounded (often shortly before 2008 hit). Those who were even reasonably diversified and stayed invested would have felt uncomfortable at the time but probably now remember the 2000-2002 bear market as an afterthought. Unless they have made serious mistakes or were forced to make serious withdrawals, they should have a lot more money now.

All bull markets come to an end, you just never know when. It is hard to resist the lure of today’s tech darlings, but history provides a good reminder of why it makes sense to own them in proportion and not be the greedy one deep in a bull market.

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Craig Birk, CFP®

Craig Birk, CFP®

Craig Birk is a member of the Personal Capital Advisors Investment Committee. He also serves as Vice President of Portfolio Management. Prior to Personal Capital Advisors, he was an integral leader within the portfolio management team at Fisher Investments. During Craig’s time there, the company increased assets under management from $1.5 billion under management to over $40 billion. His responsibilities included risk management, portfolio implementation oversight, and management of all securities and capital markets research analysts. Mr. Birk graduated from the University of California at San Diego and has earned the Certified Financial Planner® designation.

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