I have no idea why the seasonal mutual fund-induced S&P 500 selloff hasn’t happened (so far, at least) this year. Could be this is just an instance of the adage that the market tends to make the greatest fools out of the largest number of people–namely, me. But even the best portfolio managers are wrong at least 40% of the time. Not a profession for people who desperately need to be right about everything.
By the way, another curiosity about the annual mutual fund dividend is that holders strongly desire to have a dividend, even though this means paying income tax on it–but almost no one actually receives the payout. Virtually everyone elects to have the dividend automatically reinvested in the fund. In my experience, only holders of 2% -3% of shares actually take the money. So there’s no need for the portfolio manager to raise cash.
This means the annual selloff is an occasion to do portfolio housecleaning plus optics for shareholders.
I heard an interesting radio interview of a prominent fixed income strategist the other day. He said that the reason gradual money tightening by the Fed in the US has made no impact on the bond market is that central bankers in the EU and Japan are still creating new money like there’s no tomorrow. That liquidity is offsetting what the US is doing so far to drain the punch bowl. By next spring, however, both the EU and Japan will be at least no longer manufacturing new liquidity and may be joining the US in tapering down the excess money stimulus. Once that’s occurring, we’ll see a bond bear market. At the very least, I think, that would put a cap on stock market gains. Until then, however…
September S&P 500 performance:
–I’ll post details for one month, the third quarter and year-to-date later in the week
–the biggest winners for September were: Energy +9.8%, Finance +5.1%, IT +4.5%. Losers: Staples -1.1%, Real Estate -1.9%, Utilities -3.0%. S&P 500 +1.9%.
ytd: IT +24.4%; S&P +12.5%; Energy -8.6%.