The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.
NEW YORK ( ETF Expert) -- In my Oct. 27 commentary, 3 Reasons Stock ETF Investors Should Continue To Tread Lightly, I pointed to the fact that the monthlong stock surge had not come from the spectacular earnings season; in fact, the average return for individual securities on the session following a third-quarter earnings report was -0.21%, suggesting that the entire October run-up emanated from enthusiasm for pan-European cooperation.
It follows that articles that primarily attribute falling equity markets to the U.S. Super Committee's failure to reach an accord are misleading. Granted, political dysfunction does increase uncertainty about the future, and the markets can't stand uncertainty. Nevertheless, the only real thing moving the benchmarks has been the outlook for debt crisis containment in Europe.
Need proof? As recently as September, many economists were predicting a U.S.-based recession based on U.S. data points. Yet that talk has been placed on the back burner after phenomenal earnings growth, a seven-month low in unemployment claims and GDP economic acceleration.(Note: GDP growth in the U.S. is far from superb. However, we should recall that it has gone from 0.4% in Q1 to 1.3% in Q2 to 2.0% in Q3. The average GDP forecast for Q4 GDP growth currently exceeds 3%.) Follow TheStreet on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook. With a number of building blocks in place -- stellar E/P yields, historically attractive P/Es, healthy corporate balance sheets, accelerating U.S. GDP growth, subsiding inflation in some emerging markets -- why have markets shed 100 points on the S&P 500 in a matter of weeks? What's behind the 8% pullback from recent highs and 12.5% since April of 2011? The answer is as simple as a chart of the Currency Shares Euro Trust (FXE). The euro-dollar via FXE tumbled in September, as did stock assets. FXE rebounded sharply in October, as did stock assets. Unfortunately, the European Union's chances for preventing its debt woes from going viral appear to be waning. Specifically, in November, FXE is on the decline once more. In my estimation, I would stick with the low volatility ETFs and non-cyclicals if FXE remains below a 50-day moving average. In this regard, I've been advocating funds like PowerShares S&P Low Volatility (SPLV) and JP Morgan Alerian MLP (AMJ).