Market Commentary – April 2019

U.S. stocks rose for a fourth straight month this year to hit a record high in April. The upside in stocks over the past month was driven by a variety of factors. For one, corporate earnings came in stronger than expected, which further dispelled fears of an imminent recession. Also, a trade deal with China appears to be in the final stages of negotiation. On the political front, the conclusion of the Mueller probe has helped remove some long-standing headline risk. Finally, in terms of the economy, the Federal Reserve continues to hold interest rates steady, which we see as a positive for risk assets, such as stocks. While global growth may be slowing, one of the keys to avoiding a recession is the Fed showing restraint on rate hikes. A well-known saying on Wall Street is that “economic booms don’t die of old age; they are murdered by the Fed.” Given the Fed’s rather dovish posture, there could be more room to run for financial assets this year.