After surging to peak levels on Nov 7, the Wall Street is again entangled in a web of woes ranging from uncertainty in tax reform to a slide in oil prices.
This is especially true given that the tax plan unveiled by the Senate differs from that of House Republicans on various fronts that have raised concerns over the delay in the implementation of corporate tax cuts, which happened to be the major driver of the recent stock market rally. Meanwhile, oil price retreated from its two-year high reached on Nov 6 on a weak demand outlook and an increase in crude inventories. Further, the flattening of the yield curve has made investors jittery, as this signals economic slowdown.
While the combination of these factors cannot be ignored, strong corporate earnings and improving health of economies around the world have been the strongest catalysts for the stock market rally this year. The dual tailwinds will continue to keep the positive momentum alive albeit at a slower pace.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, all 45 countries are on track to grow this year and expected to continue the momentum in 2018. Per International Monetary Fund (IMF), global growth is expected to be 3.6% this year and 3.7% in the next versus 3.2% last year. This would mark the fastest growth since 2010.
The S&P 500 companies recorded two consecutive quarters of double-digit earnings growth for the first time since 2011 and are on pace for 6.3%growth in the third quarter. Additionally, total Q3 earnings are on track to reach a new all-time quarterly record, surpassing the previous record reached in the preceding quarters.
Apart from these, rounds of upbeat economic data and low interest rate policies from central banks around the world are adding to the strength. All these suggest that the second-largest bull market still has legs.
Given bullish fundamentals and bouts of uncertainty, investors should focus on high-quality investing in a basket form.