No data was found
THIS WEEK WITH SADIQ

First Republic is Gone. Now What?

May 1 to 5, 2023

THIS WEEK WITH SADIQ

First Republic is Gone. Now What?

May 1 to 5, 2023

Commentary

Market Recap

  • U.S. equities ended April with nice gains as a number of big-tech names reported better-than-expected earnings.
  • That lifted sentiment despite slowing economic growth and high inflation.
  • The Dow and the S&P 500 gained 0.9% this week, while the Nasdaq was the big winner, jumping 1.3%. Meantime, the TSX finished 0.3% lower.

First Republic Bank

This morning, news broke that First Republic Bank had collapsed and been seized by the FDIC. Shortly thereafter, most of First Republic’s assets were sold to JPMorgan in a $10.6 billion deal that ensures the safety of customers’ deposits. As the third failure of a U.S. bank in the last two months, these developments have prompted concerns about broader risks to the banking sector. Despite the eye-popping headlines, we don’t see the risks as being particularly severe at this stage. This is a different scenario than Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). With SVB, the government realized that they needed to react swiftly or else risk contagion to other companies and sectors. Now, the first wave has already passed; we’ve already seen money move out of the regionals and into some of the bigger banks. But alongside those massive outflows, we’ve also seen some stabilization, and even inflows starting to come back in to other regionals. As a result, this appears to have been a company-specific crisis rather than a broader issue. If there is one surprise, it’s that we didn’t see a deal sooner. But that situation is now resolved, and at the moment, it doesn’t appear that there have been any significant negative knock-on effects: trading following the sale showed no signs of a sell-off of other regional banks, and JPMorgan’s stock was actually up. From a Canadian standpoint, we believe that the Big Six banks are undervalued—they were hit with some of the negativity that afflicted their U.S. counterparts, but in our view, it wasn’t really justified.

Bottom Line: The risk of contagion stemming from the First Republic collapse is likely to be low.

Earnings

We’re now deeper into earnings season, and so far, this quarter’s results have been mixed. Our belief that Quality companies would outperform is bearing out—Google, Microsoft, and Meta have all reported strong results. Some companies have benefited from themes like AI, while other have benefitted from cost containment. But in general, it’s Quality companies with strong balance sheets that are doing well. Meta is an excellent example of a successful pivot—the company is in much better shape now than it was six months ago. That’s a good sign, but it’s also company-specific, and therefore not necessarily representative of a broader theme across other companies. The day before Meta announced, Google and Microsoft reported good news, and one might have expected positive results from those two heavyweights to lift the broad market. But that didn’t happen—Nasdaq was up a bit, but not as much as it had been earlier in the day, and the S&P 500 was actually down. However, when Meta reported the next day, the markets really took off and continued that momentum the following day. There is no doubt that the bar for earnings was low, but despite that, earnings beats are getting rewarded quite well. The question is: will earnings be sufficient to push the market to new highs? For now, with still some uncertain macro conditions ahead, we think the answer is no.

Bottom Line: Going forward, we expect earnings to continue to be a mixed story, where quality companies continue to outperform .

Bonds

With interest rate expectations seemingly bouncing around from month to month, what does the outlook for the bond market look like? At this point, our expectation is that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by 25 bps at their next meeting. We also believe that the Fed remains data dependent—they want to see where inflation goes and will react accordingly. We wouldn’t be surprised if this 25 bps hike is the final increase before a pause, but we also wouldn’t be shocked if another 25 bps comes through later on. Anything beyond that, though, would be surprising, and would probably only be precipitated by a spike in inflation. In this environment, with the economy gradually weakening, bonds remain attractive. They are providing good yields, and are once again providing diversification as well, which they didn’t do last year. Investment Grade credit tends to do well in a recession, especially relative to High Yield bonds, which excel coming out of recessionary periods but don’t do as well during the downturns themselves. Similar to our view on equities, Quality is the deciding factor: like dividends, bond yields can earn investors 4-5% just for sitting there and doing nothing, on top of downside protection and upside potential.

Bottom Line: In bonds as in equities, Quality is king.

Positioning

During a recession, we continue to believe in company-specific stories. But once we’re closer to a recovery, we would look more at Technology, as results are starting to come around after it was one of the first sectors to go through an earnings decline. Small-cap stocks are another interesting area. With credit a bit tight, there are certainly negatives, but there is upside potential as well. Regionally, the U.S. tends to do well coming out of a recession, and the Canadian dollar should also appreciate. Those are some of the potential developments that we’ll be watching for. Until then, we’re playing it safe: taking covered positions to generate additional income, staying range-bound, and potentially taking off some profits if we see run-ups in markets (like we did with our very profitable energy trade), since we still expect the economy to weaken. Going forward, the bigger priority will be monitoring the economy and markets, seeing if things are proceeding as expected, and adjusting as necessary.

Disclosures:

The viewpoints expressed by the Portfolio Manager represents their assessment of the markets at the time of publication. Those views are subject to change without notice at any time without any kind of notice. The information provided herein does not constitute a solicitation of an offer to buy, or an offer to sell securities nor should the information be relied upon as investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. This communication is intended for informational purposes only.


BMO Global Asset Management is a brand name under which BMO Asset Management Inc. and BMO Investments Inc. operate.


Any statement that necessarily depends on future events may be a forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of performance. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Although such statements are based on assumptions that are believed to be reasonable, there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from expectations. Investors are cautioned not to rely unduly on any forward-looking statements. In connection with any forward-looking statements, investors should carefully consider the areas of risk described in the most recent simplified prospectus.


This article is for information purposes. The information contained herein is not, and should not be construed as, investment, tax or legal advice to any party. Investments should be evaluated relative to the individual’s investment objectives and professional advice should be obtained with respect to any circumstance.


Commissions, management fees and expenses (if applicable) all may be associated with investments in mutual funds. Trailing commissions may be associated with investments in certain series of securities of mutual funds. Please read the fund facts, ETF facts or prospectus of the relevant mutual fund before investing. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated. Distributions are not guaranteed and are subject to change and/or elimination.


For a summary of the risks of an investment in the BMO Mutual Funds, please see the specific risks set out in the prospectus. ETF Series of the BMO Mutual Funds trade like stocks, fluctuate in market value and may trade at a discount to their net asset value, which may increase the risk of loss. Distributions are not guaranteed and are subject to change and/or elimination.


BMO Mutual Funds are managed by BMO Investments Inc., which is an investment fund manager and a separate legal entity from Bank of Montreal.


®/™Registered trademarks/trademark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence.

Insights

House view
April 16, 2024

Delayed again: The soft landing that never comes

The view from 10,000 feet is that the economy is still in fairly good shape. That said, it is important to understand that we are beginning to see more signs of underlying economic weakness.
Sadiq Adatia
Sadiq Adatia
Commentary
April 15, 2024

Jerome Powell Was Right

Given recent inflation numbers, are markets resetting rate cut expectations, and is a soft landing is still possible? How will the state of the consumer impact earnings season?
Sadiq Adatia
Sadiq Adatia
Commentary
April 8, 2024

Total Eclipse of the Fed

What do Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s recent comments mean for the interest rate outlook? And what impact are they having on equity and fixed income markets?
Sadiq Adatia
Sadiq Adatia
Commentary
April 1, 2024

The Supply Chain Problem Rears its Ugly Head

How will supply chain disruptions caused by the Baltimore bridge collapse and conflict in the Middle East impact inflation? Do continuing problems in China’s property sector affect the country’s long-term growth outlook?
Sadiq Adatia
Sadiq Adatia
Commentary
March 25, 2024

Reddit Goes Public: A Good Omen for the IPO Market?

Were Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s comments as dovish as markets thought? With the Magnificent Seven driving markets, where can investors go if they’re looking to diversify?
Young woman doing paper work on the coach.
Young woman doing paper work on the coach.
Commentary
March 25, 2024

The True Liquidity of an ETF

ETF trading volume concerns? Rest assured, selling when needed is feasible. Discover the hidden layers of ETF liquidity beyond surface volume data

Website attestation

You are entering the BMO Global Asset Management (GAM) Institutional website.

Read our Terms and Conditions
Click here to contact us

This information is for Investment Advisors only. By accepting, you certify that you are an Investment Advisor. If you are NOT an Investment Advisor, please decline and view the content in the Investor or Institutional areas of the site. The website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide a complete description of BMO Global Asset Management’s products or services. Past performance is not indicative of future results. It should not be construed as investment advice or relied upon in making an investment decision. The opinions expressed are subject to change without notice. Products and services of BMO Global Asset Management are only offered in jurisdictions where they may be lawfully offered for sale. The information contained in this website does not constitute an offer or solicitation by anyone to buy or sell any investment fund or other product, service or information to anyone in any jurisdiction in which an offer or solicitation is not authorized or cannot be legally made or to any person to whom it is unlawful to make an offer of solicitation. All products and services are subject to the terms of each and every applicable agreement. It is important to note that not all products, services and information are available in all jurisdictions outside Canada.