NEW YORK (ETF Expert) -- Treasury bonds are rocketing, commodities are reeling and the eurozone's economy is contracting. That is hardly the backdrop for continued equity price appreciation. Yet, the U.S. stock market has had little resistance in capturing all-time records.
Regardless of region, asset classes typically move in the same direction. It follows that one would not expect unabashed buying intrigue in U.S stocks when most European and most emerging market stocks are floundering.
Similarly, one would not anticipate increasing desire for safe-haven government bonds at the same time that "riskier" U.S. equities are demonstrating unflappability.
By the same token, with
(i.e., health care, utilities, staples) logging the best year-to-date sector returns, one would be hard-pressed to express enthusiasm for near-term bullishness for the
Even the unconventional measures seem ominous. Bearish short interest on the S&P 500 is at the lowest level in 12 months. That should be music to the ears of the contrarian investor who might want to "short-sell" the major index. Meanwhile 90% of
stocks are above a 200-day trendline -- a signal to many contrarians to consider "selling high."
Is it possible, however, that the only things that matter are $85 billion per month in
money printing combined with $60 billion of investor dollars flowing into U.S. stock funds through the end of March? According to TrimTabs, the $60 billion, three-month haul was the largest at any time since 2004. Undoubtedly, that has helped fire up the buying activity. Still, the first 10 months of 2004 were entirely flat for the S&P 500, putting a dent in the idea that fund flow alone can explain the monster price gains in early 2013.
In truth, where investors should go from here is the critical question worth pondering. Earnings results and guidance may be the most disappointing in years. Technical signals scream caution. Contrarian data favor a reversal in fortunes. Nothing in the global economic news wires suggests anything more than marginal growth buoyed by emergency level stimulus by the world's central banks.
From my vantage point, the fundamental, technical, contrarian and economic data all suggest a mix of defensive assets here in the second quarter, regardless of how high the S&P 500 climbs.
If you are looking to rotate into less-volatile positions, or if you are looking to put cash to work on an incremental basis, or if you simply find yourself stuck in the headlights like a deer, then consider some or all of the assets in the portfolio described below.
It is intended to take advantage of yield spreads with Treasury bonds. It is also meant to remove some anxiety of buying near all-time peaks. It will not compete with the S&P 500 in a continuation of the raging bull.
On the other hand, if the U.S. market is relatively flat or down for the remainder of the second quarter, then this portfolio will provide genuine comfort over the next 10 weeks.
This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
Disclosure Statement: ETF Expert is a website that makes the world of ETFs easier to understand. Gary Gordon, Pacific Park Financial and/or its clients may hold positions in ETFs, mutual funds and investment assets mentioned. The commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The opinions offered are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities. At times, issuers of exchange-traded products compensate Pacific Park Financial or its subsidiaries for advertising at the ETF Expert website. ETF Expert content is created independently of any advertising relationships. You may review additional ETF Expert at the site.
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