Hello from Sycamore,
Performance and the Markets
So far so good for 2023. Since the markets found a low point last fall, they have been steadily climbing. We are not back to the highs that we experienced at the end of 2021, but with the Dow Jones industrial average at about 34,000 now, we’re within shouting distance. From June 30th, 2022, our growth and income composite have gained more than 19%. We are pleased with these returns. We are also pleased that the pending recession – which according to many news outlets, has been just around the corner for about the last 18 months – still seems to be around that corner! That’s not to say that it isn’t coming, forecasting can be difficult. As Yogi Berra said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future”.
Because we do our own research and make individual stock selections for your portfolio(s), we are constantly evaluating several hundred individual securities based on their assets and profitability. Nothing is assured, but currently, we see most securities that we follow as being ‘reasonably’ priced. While we do not expect our composite to gain another 9% during the last half of 2023, we are comfortable with current valuations. We believe that in the long run share prices will follow the profitability of the company. With a few exceptions, the profits of the companies that we follow are progressing as we would expect.
We recently received good news on the inflation front. The current annual rate has dropped to 3%, which is the lowest rate in more than two years. The federal reserve has recently slowed the pace of interest rate hikes, and they have indicated that one or two more .25% hikes will likely be all we’ll see in the near future. We feel the recent inflation news shows the rate hikes over the last year have been effective.
Producer prices, which at their peak in 2021 and 2022 were growing at nearly a 23% annualized rate, are now declining at about a 6% annualized rate. Generally, the producer price index is a good indicator of what to expect from the consumer price index. If history holds true, we could expect inflation to continue to subside.
In our March letter to you, we mentioned that the money supply in the economy (M2) was decreasing. That is still the case. This is another metric that leads us to believe inflation will continue to ease. The economy continues to create new jobs at a brisk pace and has created 1.67 million new jobs so far in 2023. The unemployment rate now stands at 3.6%.
We recently received good news about our first quarter gross domestic product (GDP). The estimate was revised up by .7% to 2%. It seems consumers are getting used to higher interest rates and sales of existing homes have bounced back a little while housing starts are showing signs of getting back on track.
Not everything is perfect, but the recent data showing the economy is growing more than expected and inflation is cooling faster than expected is not a bad combination. We’re optimistic.
Purchase and Sale Activity During Q-2
The second quarter had more activity than usual for our portfolios.
We bought Lincoln National, Bread Financial, Canadian Solar, Mednax Inc., Wintrust Financial, Generac Holdings, Verizon, M.D.C. Holdings, and Petmed Express.
We sold Neogen, Warner Brothers Discovery, Kaman, Organon & Co, ASGN Inc, China Automotive, New Orient Education, Consensus Cloud Solutions, Mueller IND, and Ziff Davis.
As always, do not hesitate to reach out to our offices at (765) 455-1554 to discuss this.
Thank you for your continued trust and support,
Sycamore Financial Group
*Data not audited
*Results reported gross fees
**Past performance does not assure future results. Investors cannot invest directly in the stock market indexes such as the S&P 500. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate. Investor value, when sold may be worth more or less than their original cost.