Start brushing up on those rusty stock analysis skills, bulls.
With the return of broader market volatility and a surprise selloff in hot tech stocks like Amazon (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report this month, who else better to diagnose the market than Stifel Financial Corp. (SF) - Get Stifel Financial Corp. Report chairman and CEO Ronald J. Kruszewski.
Kruszewski has been the longest-serving CEO among the major investment banks, taking the helm at St. Louis headquartered Stifel in 1997. As Stifel's CEO, he has navigated the highs of a tech stock boom (1999), the lows of a tech stock bust (2000) and the super lows of the Great Recession (2009). So let's just say his views on the market, at this latest critical juncture, are no joke.
"It's interesting times -- I think what we are seeing is a shift in the markets," Kruszewski told TheStreet inside Stifel's Manhattan, New York office. "We have been in a period of low interest rates, low inflation and low growth and that has promoted passive investing and high price-to-earnings multiple stocks."
Added Kruszewski, "Now we are going to change, where you will get higher growth and higher interest rates and the market is going to be more volatile -- it's going to be a stock-picker's market."
But even if one is an expert stock-picker, it still may not be enough to successfully navigate a Jerome Powell Federal Reserve that's on course to steadily hike interest rates and unwind a colossal balance sheet. As investors are quickly learning, any whiff of hawkishness from the new Fed leader is a setup for profit-taking in stocks.
"The Fed has got a tough job." Kruszewski says. "The Fed is in an environment where they have to stick the landing, to put it in gymnastics terms, because you have unemployment below 4%, GDP growth going above 3% and the Fed trying to tap the brakes while the fiscal policies have been adding stuff to the punch-bowl, so to speak."
"Bull markets don't die of old age they are murdered by the Fed."
Watch our full interview with Stifel CEO Ronald Kruszewski on Youtube