In today's Traders Exclusive, George Tkaczuk discusses equity markets that are on fire, hitting new all-time and multi-year highs after a v-shaped recovery following the recent correction. To get an understanding of the underlying factors driving price appreciation, Tkaczuk first looks at earnings. So far this earnings season, 78% of companies have beaten analyst estimates. Earnings growth on the S&P 500 was estimated at 4.3%, and so far it has come in at about 7.3%. On a valuation basis, the S&P appears fairly valued at a 15.2x forward P/E multiple, which is not particularly overvalued. Corporations have strong balance sheets, with $1.35 trillion in cash. Technological improvements are widespread across sectors, including fracking, 3-D printing, smartphones, the cloud, and apps, all driving productivity. Finally, the Fed remains accommodating - despite tapering they have yet to raise rates. Japan has taken the baton of easing, which doesn't directly affect US equities but does strengthen the US dollar, making commodities and other inputs cheaper for US manufacturing. Overall, we have strong growth, low inflation, and a strong dollar. As far as particular industries to focus on, 10 of the top 40 IBD industry groups are in the medical sector, 9 are in technology, and transports and retail are in there as well. With widespread participation, markets continue to look healthy.
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