How I spent my holiday weekend you ask? Digesting at least 10 stories pumping up the notion of a September stock market meltdown.
Writers came armed with the usual facts that reflect their overall skepticism of the stock market: (1) The Stock Trader's Almanac said September is often a bad month for the markets, so look out below; (2) there is euphoria on Wall Street, as seen in the exploding stock prices of Apple (AAPL) - Get Report , Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report and Netflix (NFLX) - Get Report ; and (3) the market seemingly touched new records each session in a slow August.
So based on these musings, Sept. 4, 2018, will mark day one of the September market meltdown that sends the S&P 500 I:GSPC 10% lower by Sept. 28, the last trading day of the month. Good luck with that call.
While we may certainly see some profit-taking, a meltdown is unlikely given the fundamental backdrop of Corporate America.
"A price melt-up that is justified by the fundamentals isn't likely to be followed by a meltdown as long as the fundamentals hold their ground or get even stronger. This accurately describes the current situation in the stock market, in my opinion. Stocks are soaring because profits are doing the same," said Yardeni Research founder Ed Yardeni. The long-time market forecaster is the originator of the "melt-up market" back in 2013, so I am inclined to give him a listen. Yardeni doesn't think we are nearing a market meltdown because: (1) S&P earnings rose 5.4% sequentially in the second quarter, suggesting that the strong performance in after-tax profits isn't attributable only to the Donald Trump tax cuts; (2) corporate cash flows are at record levels, helped by the Trump tax cuts.
In short, the stock market can't melt down if companies are a picture of health.
Nike's (NKE) - Get Report decision to back Colin Kaepernick in a new ad and product line looks to already be a winner judging by the generally positive social media sentiment. While it's unlikely the Kaepernick ad and product line will directly move the financial needle for Nike, the move is about so much more. It's Nike trying to skate where the puck is headed in society. It's Nike trying to tap into a movement and get an even closer connection with the people that purchase its products.
Will the clear statement against the NFL, and President Trump, send some folks off to buy Under Armour (UAA) - Get Report or Adidas (ADDYY) this holiday season? You bet. But Nike is making a much larger societal wager here, one that it hopes will pay dividends 30 years down the line. Long-term shareholders should appreciate the effort, whereas traders have reason to take profits on a stock that has surged 30% this year.
Come Apple's product unveil on Sept. 12, 2018, the absence of the "supercycle" theory -- and instead the release of a broad set of compelling new products -- could prove lucrative to Apple investors in 2019. Think of it as lower expectations with a higher reward as those expectations are beaten.
"Unlike last year, we don't see investors fixated on a super cycle, which encourages us to think that a solid, well-executed product lineup has potential to surprise in coming quarters," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani. "We see the upcoming iPhone cycle resulting in healthy volume growth even though ASPs (average selling prices) might see some headwinds year over year due to tough comparisons -- importantly, we think the cycle will help the install base, enabling continued services growth."
The supercycle theory turned out to be an anchor to Apple's stock price. Shares of Apple traded mostly rangebound from Sept. 1, 2017 to late April 2018 as the market didn't get its supercycle. The stock has only since taken off amid an aggressive stock buyback plan, a couple of very solid quarters and the backing of billionaire Warren Buffett.
Now bring on that round Apple Watch Series 4.