Bullish sentiment ran out of steam during Q3 2023. In a previous blog we discussed the primary culprit for that. All that said, we are now in the final quarter of the year. Investors entered October in a pessimistic mood and with lots of cash riding out the storm in money market accounts (earning close to 5%). Historically, the last quarter usually sees the strongest market performance. On the back of some pessimism, we think the stage could be set for a significant catch-up.

We recently increased client stock exposure in anticipation of a rebound. We focused on small and mid-cap companies that have not followed the market-moving “Magnificent 7” (the new FAANG stocks). We are much more comfortable with the potential downside when buying at 14-15 times earnings vs. 35-40 times for the largest tech companies.

We have also recently increased safety within our shortest time horizon “Liquid Assets Strategy” by selling our high-yield bond fund position. We think a credit crunch has begun and choose to hold risk-free cash earning 5% rather than accept the risk of BBB-rated bonds earning 6%.

Economic growth is slowing. Businesses are faced with refinancing debt at much higher interest rates, and rates may remain high for many months. Corporate earnings should stay positive but are still vulnerable. The Consumer is still strong, as are home prices and employment. But leading economic indicators continue to weaken. Investors are having a difficult time forecasting the future. It’s a toss-up as to whether the Fed can engineer the magical “soft landing” markets were certain of just a few short months ago. Market sentiment is terrible, and we view this as an opportunity.

The war in the Middle East is heartbreaking, and we keep the civilians at the forefront of our prayers. The cold calculus of markets and economics is that unless the conflict broadens into a regional affair there should be little impact on financial markets. Should it widen to include Iran in particular, that calculus will change.

There have always been geopolitical events and market uncertainties. Our time horizon strategies coupled with detailed financial planning reduces the impact of market risks on our clients’ ability to live the lives they choose. When investment risk is pushed to long time horizons, growth strategies are allowed to perform their best. Over more than a decade, Integras Partners has successfully navigated tumultuous periods without having to give up exposure to the long-term growth needed in almost every portfolio.

Our structural portfolio design provides the comfort to enjoy life today, recognizing that while markets are inconsistent, freedom to live life isn’t.

Call us to review your investment approach (404) 941-2800.