NEW YORK ( Fabian Capital Management) -- 2013 has certainly been an interesting year so far. We have seen precious metals prices deflate, interest rates rise, stocks continue to march higher and currencies gyrate like a yo-yo.
For short-term traders this kind of volatility is exactly what they love because it allows them to jump in and out of the market to make very swift profits. However, for intermediate or long-term investors it can be a frustrating time --especially when Wall Street darlings such as Apple (AAPL), SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) and the Pimco Total Return ETF (BOND) have fallen out of favor. New market leaders have taken their place with regional banks, consumer discretionary, and small-cap stocks making new highs behind solid upward momentum.
The start of earnings season is now upon us and Alcoa (AA) kicked off the quarter with better-than-expected results. Whether or not that will set the tone for the rest of the market has yet to be seen. The areas that will likely be in stark focus are financial stocks, mortgage REITs and utilities, which have heavy ties to interest rates. Investors will be seeking additional guidance from these companies on how they will extend their gains with higher rates impacting their revenue and business models.
In my opinion, this may be one of the more important earnings seasons in recent memory because it will be a key determining factor on whether or not stocks will again resume their climb. One thing is for certain, there will likely be a great deal of continued volatility among stocks, bonds and gold in the near future as money repositions for the second half of the year. The most widely publicized asset flows have been in the fixed-income spectrum as TrimTabs reported an estimated $80 billion was yanked from bond ETFs and mutual funds in the month of June alone.I am still not convinced that all of the money flowing out of bonds will immediately be put to work in stocks as many experts have speculated. In fact, I believe this money will be put to cash or short-duration bond funds for the time being until such time as the dust settles and a clearer picture emerges. I think that many investors, especially conservative income seekers, are hesitant to put money to work in stocks at these levels because the risk of a correction is quite high.